Survey Incentives Can Backfire

A company that manufactures automobiles would like to survey its customers to find out more information regarding their decision to purchase. In order to ensure a high response rate to the survey, company management decides to enter the names of each respondent into a drawing for a trip to a day spa.

When the survey results came in, the company may find that females made up a disproportionally large percentage of the survey respondents. That is because its survey incentive, the trip to the day spa, appeals to females more than to males. Furthermore, management may also run the risk of alienating its male customers because of the association with a feminine prize reward.

While this is an extreme example, the marketplace is full of incentives that have backfired on their originators. To get more accurate survey results, the company should consider offering respondents a choice of several prizes, which together will appeal to a broader range of relevant interests.

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