How and when to offer survey incentives to your customers

Jan 04, 2023 7 min read
How and when to offer survey incentives to your customers

Magnus Eriksen

Offering incentives for customer surveys is a great way to encourage customers to provide valuable feedback and insights. With the questions you ask, you can learn more about their likes and dislikes, what they would consider purchasing in the future, and any issues they may have with your products or services.

However, it's essential to think carefully about the type of incentives you offer and how you will distribute them. In this article, we'll explain how and when to offer survey incentives to your customers without compromising any data. 

Why do you need to offer survey incentives?

Offering survey incentives may seem costly, but it can effectively motivate customers to complete online surveys. With a strategic incentive program, you can increase survey response rates in the following ways:

1.  Receive feedback/data that's more honest and detailed

When customers are offered something in return for their feedback, they tend to be more honest and provide more detailed responses than when there's no incentive. This is because they're more likely to be motivated, engaged, and invested in the survey process. Without compensation or reward, customers will be more likely to provide short, generic responses.

2.  Increase response rates from a larger portion of your target audience

Offering incentives also makes reaching a broader portion of your customer base easier. If customers know that there's something in it for them, they will be much more likely to participate and provide valuable feedback. This opens up a world of new opportunities for your business - from gathering more detailed insights to creating a more extensive and diverse customer profile.

3.  Generate higher survey completion rates

When customers are incentivized, they're more likely to stay engaged and complete surveys in their entirety. This increases the accuracy of the data you receive, reduces response bias, and eliminates skews caused by survey drop-offs.

4.  Reduce survey fatigue

Lastly, incentivizing your customers helps to reduce survey fatigue. Survey fatigue occurs when respondents become bored with the survey or feel they're being asked too many questions. Offering incentives gives them something to look forward to and encourages them to provide honest and thoughtful answers to the end.

What types of incentives to offer

When discussing incentives you can offer customers, there are two general types: tangible and intangible. Tangible incentives are physical rewards given to customers for completing a survey online or giving feedback. Listed below are a few examples of tangible incentives:

  • Coupons
  • Cash
  • Gift cards
  • Physical prizes (e.g., gadgets, home appliances, etc.)
  • Travel vouchers
  • Charity Donations

On the other hand, intangible incentives are rewards that cannot be touched or seen. Examples of intangible incentives include:

  • Discounts
  • Early access to products and services
  • Recognition and acknowledgment
  • VIP status
  • Free trials

Depending on your marketing strategy, you can use any of these tangible or intangible rewards to incentivize customers. There isn't a right or wrong choice regarding incentives, so you'll need to experiment and see what works best for your business. Just make sure your business is PCI compliant if you plan on offering cash or gift cards as rewards. 

When to offer survey incentives

While incentives are a great way to increase survey response rates, it's essential to consider your customer's journey before offering them.

If you offer incentives too soon, customers will be more likely to participate in the survey just for the reward and may not provide honest feedback. Conversely, customers may lose interest in completing the survey if you wait too long before offering an incentive.

Being strategic with your approach is imperative when offering survey incentives. To ensure your customers provide honest feedback, you should offer the incentive after they have already started engaging with the survey but before they complete it. This way, customers will be more likely to provide detailed and accurate insights in exchange for the reward.

This approach may only work for some surveys, so you'll need to experiment and see what approach works best for your particular survey. Run a short test to see where in your survey journey the customer will be most likely to respond and engage with your survey.

How to distribute incentives

Not only do you need to think carefully about the type of surveys you offer, but also how the incentives will be distributed.

Depending on your product and customer preferences, you can choose to distribute rewards digitally or physically. For example, digital incentives may be the way to go if your customer base is primarily millennials. However, if your customers are elderly or prefer physical rewards, then tangible gifts would be more suitable.

Here are a few ways to distribute rewards:

  • Emailing rewards directly to customers 
  • Mailing out physical rewards 
  • Adding discounts and offers directly to customer accounts 
  • Offering access to exclusive products or services on your website
  • Posting reward codes on social media

No matter what type of incentive you offer, make sure it is compelling enough to motivate customers to complete the survey and provide honest feedback.

The best survey incentive value

Now that you've decided which type of incentive to offer and how to distribute it, the next step is determining its value. The value of your survey incentive should be enough to motivate customers, yet not so much that it detracts from the quality of their answers.

To determine what an appropriate reward would look like for your particular survey, consider the following factors:

The type of survey you are offering

Is the survey you're offering one that requires a lot of effort, or is it relatively straightforward? If the survey requires more effort, you should offer a higher incentive. Depending on how much effort the customer has to put in, that's how valuable the reward should be.

Your customer's preferences

As stated before, knowing your target audience is key. What incentives do they prefer? Is it a discount on their next purchase or access to exclusive products? Consider what motivates your target audience the most and use that as your reference for offering an incentive. Being persuasive is critical here, so make sure you offer incentives that your customers can't resist!

How much will it cost to fulfill the incentive?

This is an essential factor to consider when determining the value of your incentive. You'll need to consider the cost of producing or providing the reward and any fees associated with distributing it. Once you have established these costs, you'll be able to decide on a fair yet compelling offer for customers.

As you can see, there is more than a one-size-fits-all answer when choosing a survey incentive. As with all marketing tactics, you must be strategic and consider multiple factors before deciding on an appropriate reward for your customers. This way, you'll be sure to entice them enough to complete the survey without losing interest.

BONUS: Survey incentive examples to use for your following survey

More customers are likely to buy more than intended because they have an incentive, such as a coupon. This is why offering value when asking customers for feedback is essential for ultimately growing profits for your business. It shows them that you value their opinions and encourages them to be more honest in their answers.

1)  Enter sweepstakes: Everyone loves a chance to win something big. You can offer customers the opportunity to enter sweepstakes after completing your survey for a chance to win an exciting prize.

2)  Digital rewards: In online surveys, digital rewards are a great way to incentivize customers. Offer ebooks, printables, digital courses, or discount codes on your website or store.

3)  Gift cards: Everyone loves gift cards! You can offer customers gift cards to their favorite store, restaurant, or coffee shop. These are often low-cost incentives, but they will surely get customers to complete your survey.

4)  Free products from your company: If you have a physical product that you want to give away for free, this is an excellent incentive for customers. This could be anything from a free sample of your product to an entire box of items.

5)  Cash rewards: Last but not least, cash incentives are always popular. Whether it's offering a flat rate or percentage off their next purchase or giving out actual money, customers will always be motivated by chance to earn some extra dough.

6)  Social media shoutouts: If you have a large social media following, offering customers the chance to be featured on your page is sure to get them interested in participating in your survey. Everyone likes online recognition!

7)  Experiential rewards: Offering customers a unique experience can be a great way to incentivize them. Offer tickets to the movies, an invite to a special event, or even VIP access at your next conference!

Final Thoughts

According to research, 85% of customers state that sharing their opinions/feedback on their products and services is essential. This shows just how important feedback is in providing a good customer experience. By offering incentives, you can make the process easier and more enjoyable for customers while also getting valuable insights into your business.

Just remember to consider the type of incentive, how you will distribute it when the best time to offer it is, and the cost associated with it. By following these tips, you'll be able to craft an incentive that both motivates customers and meets your budget.