Incentives—Pay your customers back for their two cents

Franci Erdmann | Jun 27, 2017 Franci Erdmann 06/27/17

We know customers are always anxious to give us robust, thoughtful feedback in huge quantities—we don’t even need to ask! Just kidding. Sometimes customers need a little encouragement to give us their thoughts and incentives are a great way to do it. Getting a healthy sample is the first step to getting actionable insights that help you make better business decisions—that’s why choosing the right incentive is so important to building a successful CX program.

Why it matters

Some brands might wonder if the benefits of offering an incentive really outweigh the cost. The simple answer is “yes.” Incentives not only encourage higher response rates, but also yield a better quality sample and lower abandonment rates. You get more responses from your average customers, rather than just customers motivated by a really great or really poor experience.

When we asked customers what motivated them to complete a survey, the majority said incentive, followed by experience. Since a significant experience is the second highest motivator, that means many of your responses come from an awesome—or awful—experience with your brand. By offering incentives, you get more feedback from more standard interactions.


Not only that, but bounce back incentives encourage customers to come back and use their coupons—and many actually spend more when they do. Bigger spend and a better feedback sample? Clearly an incentive is worth it—but not all are created equal. Choosing the right one for your brand can drastically improve these measures even more.

How to choose

There are a number of common incentives to explore—dollars off, free item, percent off, BOGO, sweepstakes, and loyalty points. Depending on your industry, one of these will encourage better response rates than the others. Here are some things to consider.

Does your incentive:

  • Appeal to a large portion of your customers?
  • Increase customers’ typical return cycle?
  • Make it easy for the front line to execute?
  • Stand out as different from other brand promotions?

If any of these questions cause more questions, it’s worth re-evaluating your method. Understanding your industry, brand, and customers is the best place to start. Consider the chart below. Our research has shown certain methods are most-preferred in different industries.


Beyond this, sweepstakes can also be effective if the prizes are “stacked.” That means offering smaller, more frequent prize drawings in combination with a larger grand prize. Smaller prizes tend to feel more attainable for customers, and encourage more responses.

Bottom line

Incentives are worth implementing. They raise your response rates, decrease abandonment rates, yield a better-quality sample, and encourage return visits. But not all are created equal. Take stock of your brand, your industry, and your customers to inform your decision about which will work best for your business. That way you get the highest responses, lowest abandonment rates, best-quality samples, and the most return visits possible for your brand.

Want to learn more about how to make sure your survey is working as hard as possible for your brand? Check out the full best practice guide to learn more.

Franci Erdmann
VP, Client Insights

Customer Experience Update