The Challenge With Point-of-Sale (POS) Receipt Surveys 

Today, Point-of-Sale (POS) receipt surveys have dominated customer feedback programs for businesses with physical locations. After all, the Point-of-Sale touchpoint is a great time to entice the customer and invite them back. 

However, with time, receipt surveys have quickly become a survey method of the past, with little participation and employee engagement. This makes it imperative to consider a range of channels to distribute your survey on such as on-site kiosks, email, SMS, or even on-site paper surveys.

In this article, we break down and put into question one of the most widely used traditional survey methods – the Point-of-Sale (POS) Receipt Survey – and identify its place within a technologically advancing world. 

What Are Point-of-Sale (POS) Receipt Surveys?

For brick and mortar businesses, traditional POS receipt surveys are a common way to get feedback from a customer through a purchase receipt. Heavily used in both the quick service restaurant and retail spaces, odds are if you haven’t completed one, you’ve seen one.

All that is needed to administer the survey, is a call to action on a receipt (usually at the top or bottom) asking customers to visit the survey website. The survey can be any desired length and touch on any subject matter. However, the survey must be completed on the customer’s own time at the website detailed on the receipt. 

As the survey is under the customers responsibility after the experience, in most instances, businesses will incentivize the completion of the survey with a cash prize, free or discounted product/service or an exciting experience.

For businesses, POS receipt surveys can provide insight on a number of areas including service, cleanliness, atmosphere, customer satisfaction, and more. Today, however, as technology grows and customer expectations rise, there are a number of challenges that come from adopting POS receipt surveys.  

The Challenges 

Data Isn’t Always Accurate

According to a Gartner study, feedback collected at a customer touchpoint is 40% more accurate than one that is collected after 24 hours. With POS receipt surveys, customers have to visit a website to complete the survey after completing a transaction. A major challenge that arises then, is the customer’s recollection of the experience after it’s over. For many customers, it can be challenging to fill out a survey days or weeks after an experience and recall exact details like; employee names, time of visit, in-the-moment opinions, or even what was purchased. 

Over time, responses can become fragmented, less accurate, lack detail, and be less timely for relevance – which in turn can hinder the data that businesses receive. 

For businesses, inaccurate or less relevant data means the possibility of moving away from the initial objective of improving customer satisfaction or making changes that aren’t needed. Unless a customer decides to fill it out at the establishment on their phone, businesses can actually lose out on more detailed and accurate answers.

Receipt Surveys Aren’t Engaging

In order for a survey to be successful and elicit a greater number of responses, it has to be engaging. Engaging surveys make the process fun for the customer and entices the customer to start it and complete the survey in full.

With traditional POS receipt surveys, however, this can be a challenge. For many, the experience of going home and filling out a survey can lack appeal as it requires more work from the customer. Secondly, it takes away the immediate gratification of providing feedback in person and knowing employees have received your praise or constructive criticism. Lastly, you can only go so far with a creative call to action on printed receipts. Whether you use enticing words, bold border, or enticing graphics, at the end of the day, a receipt is a receipt and not all customers will feel the need to review it or read the fine details printed on the bottom.

Digital Receipts Are The Future

With both payment options and receipts going digital, printed surveys on receipts are quickly becoming a feedback tool of the past. According to a Epsilon survey of 3,900 retailers, a third, or 35%, of retailers offer digital receipts, and half of them do so at all their stores. This is a monumental shift that puts printed receipts in a less desirable position. 

As more companies begin to adopt digital receipts and more customers expect them, POS receipt surveys become challenged with longevity. 

Filling Out a Survey Becomes An Afterthought

As mentioned before, for most of us, we’ve seen a traditional Point-of-Sale (POS) Survey. However, how many of us have ever completed one? 

One of the biggest challenges with POS receipt surveys is their dwindling response rates. Today, the response rate of receipt surveys is less than 1% , a significantly low statistic when you consider the number of receipts printed every single day. 

This is in part due to the fact that receipts lack engagement and immediacy since they can’t be filled out right away, they become an afterthought in the customer experience. In many instances, receipts can easily get lost, thrown in the trash, or simply forgotten. Some customers even reject the receipt altogether. 

When considering collecting feedback at your POS  it’s important to remember that not all customers will read a receipt, and if they do, keeping the receipt and filling out the survey on their own time might not be top priority. 

Customer Feedback Can Become Less Relevant Over Time

As time progresses between the experience and when feedback is provided, the information you receive can become less relevant to your employees and your business as a whole. Say for example a customer rates their experience as poor because of an encounter with an employee, however, they don’t provide exact details and the survey is completed 2 weeks after they visited. Odds are, when the feedback is received, the employee will not recollect the exact encounter, which makes it difficult for them to correct their behavior. In addition, it’s hard to recover the customer 2 weeks after they’ve been thinking about the experience and talking to others about why it was so poor. 

This brings upon a second challenge with having less relevant data. Since POS receipt surveys aren’t in the moment, any information provided might be received too late in order to successfully recover a customer. This means, if a customer leaves with a less than ideal experience and you aren’t able to recover them with relevant feedback, there is a big chance they won’t come back. With POS receipt surveys, recovering customers becomes less likely, leading to lost customer loyalty and retention. 

Lastly, it’s important to remember the number of variables that can impact how relevant feedback is to your business, things like employee promotions, introducing new tech, bringing on new management, or even a store renovation can impact how relevant your customer’s feedback is. 

Non- Purchasers Are Alienated 

Lastly, when it comes to surveying customers via a receipt, surveys become solely dedicated to those who make a purchase. This means that customers who are browsing or who don’t end up purchasing anything aren’t able to provide their feedback – even if their experience was one to consider.

This prevents businesses from obtaining relevant and detailed data from all of their customers. This is a challenge, because in some instances the customers who don’t end up making purchases have the most valuable feedback to create a thriving business. 

How A Multi-Channel Approach Helps

It’s evident that receipt surveys come with their set of challenges. When designing a feedback program, it’s important to consider a range of channels that drive results, such as maximized survey response rates or real-time insight.

Kiosks

The first and one of the most effective alternative survey options is an on-site kiosk. Placed at key locations in establishments, they’re simple to administer, and can help you gather insight on a variety of customer preferences. 

On-site kiosks are great for engaging your customers while they’re in your establishment and the experience is top of mind. Rather than relying on a customer to input a URL from a receipt, customers can simply tap their answers on an establishment kiosk and provide your employees with instant feedback. This not only makes it an engaging experience for the customer but also a learning experience for employees who can consistently grow from the immediate feedback provided.

SMS and Email

SMS and email surveys are also great options that are both convenient for the customer and simple to complete. With the growing usage of digital receipts, SMS and email make it easier for a customer to receive your survey, tap the link, and fill it out accordingly. In addition, it allows businesses to send out surveys at key moments of the customer journey, so if a customer leaves the premises, they can easily follow up and analyze the conversation to determine trends in real-time.

Conclusion

When it comes to delivering a superb customer experience, it’s important to consider a number of surveying methods. Although POS receipt surveys are still widely used, there are a number of challenges that arise as customer preferences change and technology advances. Like any strategic business decision, before committing to a particular survey, it’s important to consider the various functionalities and objectives of the desired survey type.

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The Benbria Blog offers insights into the latest research in the field of customer engagement technology and best practices, with a focus on real-time messaging and measurement of the experience.

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