Not Your Average Joe's grows e-mail club list with in-store mobile survey service

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Not Your Average Joe's grows e-mail club list with in-store mobile survey service
Not Your Average Joe's grows e-mail club list with in-store mobile survey service

Client: Not Your Average Joe's
Vendor: Survey on the Spot

A local restaurant 
chain grew both its e-mail 
list and customer feedback 
database by deploying an 
in-store mobile survey.

Stephen Silverstein, CEO of Not Your Average Joe's restaurants, wanted a better, more comprehensive way to survey customers at the Massachusetts-based chain's 16 locations. He also wanted to compare the relative performance of each store and build the company's e-mail club, which offers free birthday meals and other benefits to diners, prompting them to return. 

"Historically, the industry has used mystery shoppers. Mystery shops can be good because they can be detailed, but the problem with a mystery shop is they're really one data point," said 
Silverstein. "Most companies do one shop per restaurant per month. We serve about 15,000 people in each restaurant per month, so it just seemed a little suspicious to me that one shop could really tell the story about what was going on there."

Not Your Average Joe's sometimes gave customers paper surveys to fill out at the end of a meal to supplement the mystery-shop feedback, but most of those would go right to the restaurant manager. In other instances, surveys completed via reply cards were mailed to Silverstein. The printed surveys cost around 20 cents apiece to produce, plus postage for those that were mailed back. Worse, the data was never tabulated.

More important, paper surveys weren't terribly effective at capturing e-mail addresses. The survey typically referred diners to a website where they could sign up once they got home, but this required a fair amount of effort from the customer. Silverstein figured there had to be a way to dig deep and get more useful data.

STRATEGY: The management team at Not Your Average Joe's evaluated four survey systems, most of which included surveys printed at the bottom of a receipt. These systems could interface with back-office software, but they were too expensive.

The option that really got Not Your Average Joe's attention was Survey on the Spot, a system that lets marketers design surveys by entering information into a website. Customers take the survey via an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad app. Because data is entered electronically, the system automatically tabulates it. 

The system provided instant customer feedback and allowed for the easy creation of branded surveys. When customers signed up for the restaurant's e-mail club, the addresses were captured instantly and connected with Fishbowl, an e-mail marketing and 
database system.

It's possible for customers to download an app to their own iPhone or iPad to take a survey, but Not Your Average Joe'sw decided to purchase about four iPod Touches per store in order to boost the participation rate in the branded survey. Wi-Fi already existed in some of the stores, but other stores needed to install it. 

Not Your Average Joe's rolled the system out to all of its stores in January 2011 after an initial pilot program that began in June 2010. Servers presented customers with the iPods when they brought the check, and the customers filled out a survey of 10 
questions as they waited for the bill to be processed. The iPods were glued to bamboo cutting boards to deter theft. They only included the survey — no games or music.

RESULTS: "We're probably getting about 400 surveys per week per store on this system," Silverstein said. "Over the course of a month, that's 1,600 data points versus one" compared to a mystery shop. 

The biggest improvement over the old system, however, is how it helped build business. 

"About a third of the people taking the survey join the e-mail club," Silverstein said. "What we've learned is the faster people can do things and get rewarded for doing it, the more likely they are to do it. This is easy. You give your e-mail address and bang, you're already signed up. That's a serious benefit for us." Silverstein estimated that Survey on the Spot has doubled the e-mail club's growth rate. 

"It's done more than that," he added. "We often get redemptions because it's so quick. They sign up today and they get their welcome gift later today. That's a huge, huge benefit."

Silverstein said usage rates are high despite not offering a monetary 
incentive because customers like filling out the survey. "It's kind of hip. People's reaction is 'Wow, this is cool,'" he explained. 

Not Your Average Joe's continues to offer patrons the choice of a paper comment card in addition to the mobile device, but it expects to eliminate the paper option in the future.


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