Why Should I…?

My car needed an oil change. And instead of suffering through the rigamarole that often occurs when going to the dealership (even with a coupon for a freebie), I decided to use the Valvoline “Instant Oil Change” joint not far away. You don’t even get out of your car – they have a remarkably efficient system for knocking out quick stuff like this.

And knock it out they did. Very friendly and crisp service. Zoom-zoom and it was done (yes, I have a Mazda). I was very happy with Vince and the gang up in Kinnelon until the very end – when he pointed out a section on the receipt and asked if I would make a phone call (“only about 4 1/2 minutes!”) to tell Valvoline about how they did.

Just plug in that 17-digit number and go through a series of questions. Ummm…yeah. I just saved a bunch of time by using their service, then I want to take more minutes of my time to get immersed in an automated phone survey…with no incentive to do so? Why should I?

Oh – I had a chance to win $500.00. Right.

As I drove home, I mused on this – what would motivate me to actually make that call? What would make me WANT to do something so optional and non-rewarding, even if (as a marketing guy) I know why they’re doing it and I benefited from the good service?

Well, when totaling up the bill, Vince asked if I had any coupons. Ummm…no. There is a seemingly random appearance at times of such coupons for Valvoline but I can never keep track. Well – what if the incentive to make the phone call was to receive a coupon for $7.00 off the next oil change? And furthermore – what if I could do the survey on-line, and specify whether I wanted to print it out immediately, OR have them e-mail it to me at an interval I choose – say, in 3 months as a reminder, just when I’m due for the next oil change?

That, I would do. And really – isn’t it better to provide coupons to already-existing customers, in a way that actually helps ensure their return? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

So, Valvoline or other-purveyors-of-similar-services – Tell you about my visit? Sure – it was fine, but can be better for both you and me. So here’s an idea for you, from a customer/marketer who won’t make that phone call for no reason, but will spend 15 minutes blogging about how to improve the experience. Hope to see you again in 3 months or so (if I remember…!)


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

2 Responses to Why Should I…?

  1. Mike Santoro says:

    Great post. You’d actually be very surprised by the motivating factors behind those surveys. We work with Empathica, a customer experience management firm that runs many of those programs for the world’s top brands – possibly even your local oil change franchise.

    When we started working with them we asked them that very question, “Are people really filling out these surveys?” They are and all kinds of different demographics are doing so. And what drives the response? They have tested more types of offers than I can list. Your instinct is right – coupons are very motivational – but there’s a reason you see so many “Chance to win $500 or $1000” offers. They work.

    Every year they venture outside and offer a number of different offers, yet the numbers keep telling them that these type of offers keep performing. I thought that was pretty interesting.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Leslie says:

    They don’t work for me. I usually think about responding to those offers / surverys for about 10 seconds, which is the amount of time that passes from when I get the receipt, to when it gets stuffed in my purse, not to be seen again (at least for quite a while).

    I like Steve’s idea of having them emal me the survey (along with a coupon) after my visit – that I might be more likely to respond to.

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