World Class Driving Experience was recently featured in USA Today for their 200 mph extreme event where you can pay for the opportunity to drive that fast in a controlled environment. As a gear head the event is appealing to me although moderately expensive (it isn’t cheap to drive an exotic car that fast).
Over a year ago I attended a driving event for my 50th birthday and was completely impressed by my experience with World Class Driving (I posted a summary blog at that time).
I just received an email asking for feedback and offering me a $200 credit voucher for my next event. The survey was online, well structured and I completed it in the less than three minutes promised.
The questions indicated to me that World Class Driving was looking for ways to improve both the quality and value of their product (which is already quite extraordinary). I was impressed that they were willing to provide a significant monetary credit for a brief survey.
Of course all this begs the question: what are you willing to pay for customer feedback?
Having been through a similar driving experience (aren’t they GREAT?), I’m impressed by their financial commitment to generate feedback that will make their experience even more valuable to their target audience.
It seems like their goal to get customers to return for another experience. This is where the real investment comes, in my opinion.
World-class organizations seem to consistently find a way to gather guidance to grow their business (customer feedback) by way of strategically building relationships with the customers that reveal that vital information. While a survey may be a nice addition to this effort, the most important source seems to be the relationship with the front line worker. When the customer-employee interaction is such that creates a bond (relationship) and serves as a source of relevant information (customer opinions, desires, values, etc.), then, if the organization has a system to gather/process/implement that feedback, there is a valid continuous improvement that grows the company organically.
Asking the survey questions immediately after the experience would be a waste of time (the emotions of the moment cloud the legitimate perceived value once the bill gets paid a month later). Wouldn’t it be great if your driver – or someone you developed a bond with during the initial experience – were to follow up with you afterwards? Maybe provide you (the gear head driving fan) some value-added “treats” and sharing “behind-the-scenes” info, while in the process, gathering additional feedback to help them improve? While the labor costs involved may exceed the $200 survey coupon, I suspect it would result in higher return visits and advocacy (just ask Disney, etc.)
Personally, I’m willing to “pay” whatever makes sense to grow my business/cause by growing my customers. As they say: “No margin, no mission”.
Regardless, it is GREAT to see businesses make the effort. Bravo to them! (Gee, I now have an urge to research some new action-oriented, adrenaline-filled experience…)
This winds up being an interesting topic in retail world. While coupons and items for discounts can be generated for a % or $ off of a future purchase, it takes some work to ensure that the offering doesn’t outweigh the original purchase.
Because of this issue, many retailers move to a contest-model. While effective in generating responses to a survey, those responses are often skewed. A whole lot of folks are completing the survey BECAUSE of the contest, and will provide only positive answers to questions. It generally results in skewed data, and those retailers struggle to get an accurate snapshot of their operations from a customer-perspective via survey results.
I think back to the Publisher’s Clearing House contests that were big in the 80’s and 90’s. The printed materials all said – over and over – that a purchase was not necessary to win. But, a whole lot of folks were quite sure that if they ordered a magazine or two, their entry would be placed in the potential winners pile. Surely no company would select a person who didn’t buy anything as their winner!
Same thinking applies to contests attached to customer experience surveys in retail land. It’s not so much a matter of – “what are you willing to pay for responses?” Rather, it’s more a “how do we generate responses that we can use to improve the customer experience and the business?”
To answer the latter question – it becomes a quest to gather the feedback that is needed while maintaining data integrity. Combining an integrity-based survey model available to EVERY customer with a focus group model that draws data from 5-star customers… the most loyal customers to the business…. generally generates the best results.