How to Improve Customer Response Rate to Receipt Surveys

**This post was originally published on TTAG Systems’ SMS Marketing Blog. View it here


Getting customer feedback is an art of the business in itself. It shouldn’t be an afterthought, especially when so much great information is there if you just scratch the surface.

The majority of fast food restaurants offer rewards for answering a survey on the back of their receipt. It’s a fantastic idea in theory because it targets current customers who have just had an instore experience and can give valuable data. But there are a few flaws in execution that make this method inefficient.

In a post about my experience with quick surveys, I suggested switching from online surveys to something more convenient: text messaging. We conducted a survey among Canadian fast food diners, Who Completes Fast Food Receipts and Why, to present results that show what areas need to be kicked up for a better response rate to receipt surveys.

Customer Response Rates

Better Call-To-Action

Customers can’t fill out a survey they aren’t aware exists. 45% of respondents don’t even notice the offer on their receipts and this could be the result of an inconspicuous call-to-action. The receipts, with their instructions printed on the back or the bottom, are easy to miss when most people tuck it away or only check it to make sure that their purchase is correct. Cashiers, who would be able to point this out for the customer, don’t always have time to explain the steps when they have long line ups to cash out.

A better call-to-action can increase exposure to make customers aware of the survey. A different medium, like an interactive poster or video on TV, can direct attention effectively. But it’s got to be clear for the customer—every step should be convenient and clearly outlined, from how to reach the survey to getting a reward for their effort.

Customer Response Rate

Easier Surveys

While there are a lot of customers who noticed the survey, a considerable amount didn’t bother with it. The most common reason was that it was too complicated, but others simply forgot or lost their receipt.

An easier survey that can be filled out on the spot is the answer then. The research pinpointed that type of survey is problematic: online questionnaires with their logins and websites are time-consuming, even on a convenient data-enabled phone (that not everyone has). A simple text message survey takes three short minutes and can be done before they step foot outside of the restaurant.

The facts say everything necessary to know: 85% of respondents said they’d consider taking the survey–if the restaurant offered a better way to do it.

Customer Response Rate

Better Incentives

Almost a third of respondents said that filling out the survey was simply not worth their time. The effort put into logging online, navigating to the website and checking off bubbles didn’t add up to the chance of winning $500. A valuable use of their time could be offering a reward as simple and convenient as a 20% coupon for their next visit.

After filling out a short 5-question text message survey, they can receive an SMS or MMS coupon, a guaranteed reward rather than a gamble not worth their time. The coupon also gives them an incentive to visit the store again and possibly fill out another survey, creating a great feedback loop. Best of all, this kind of small but definite reward doesn’t depend on the customers’ willingness to take their chances on maybe winning a prize.


There are 3 key factors to do right in order to get a high response rate: attract, engage, reward. Customers are ready to give you their opinion, and most want you to know how you’re doing. It’s your job to make it easy for them to provide it for you. The more effort you put into your survey, the less they’ll exert to take it.


Vahagn Aydinyan is the Digital Marketing Manager of TTAG Systems Corporation, based in Woodbridge, Ontario. He also blogs at TTAG Systems' SMS Marketing Blog and Huffington Post Canada about text message marketing, direct response marketing, and digital marketing.