Avoiding The Kevin Costner Approach

By: Clarabridge Team

January 16, 2014

By:  Susan Lynch, Consulting Director EMEA

I have a confession; I have been guilty of taking the ‘Kevin Costner approach’ to driving survey take-up. If you build it they will come, right?  It might work for baseball diamonds in the middle of corn fields, but it doesn’t deliver the kind of feedback volume a VOC programme needs.


The online survey had launched on time and on budget and I was walking around the office with a broad smile.  Ah the sweet feeling of success. When the first set of response stats came in I started to worry.  Week on week the response rate numbers just weren’t there; things were not going to plan = not so broad a smile.

We knew a good survey design was key to driving a response rate so we took time and care putting one together, but we assumed customers would know our listening post was there.  It doesn’t matter how great your survey design – if people can’t find it, they won’t complete it.

Plan for promotion as a key part of your project activities or all of that good work will remain unseen.  Some suggestions on what that planning might cover:

  • Use existing collateral that is prepped to carry messaging to customers  – e-mail signatures, footers on till receipts, assigned space on bills, invoices and envelopes.
  • Try a point of sale promotion – cards at the checkout, with the bill, in carrier bags; wherever you think customers will look.
  • See if your marketing team can run a campaign to drive online traffic through to your survey.

If you build it, shout about it and leave the Kevin Costner approach where it belongs – in the movies.