It’s often said that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” so do the big manufacturers actually listen when customers give their honest feedback? As owners of both Yamaha and Kawasaki watercraft, we have dealt with both companies “customer research” departments and surveys.
The fact is that manufacturers are eager to accommodate buyers’ wants and desires, and are constantly trying to come up with the “next big thing.” By providing OEs with an honest evaluation of your new ski, you are helping them refine and improve their products and offerings.
In 2020, after purchasing a 2021 Yamaha FX HO this author received a customer satisfaction survey from Yamaha. They were curious to know not only about our demographics and the expected use of our new WaveRunner, but they also wanted to know how we felt about the dealer experience, financing, and most importantly, the unit itself.
Yamaha offered a “$25 off a purchase of $100” coupon for completing the survey. While the offer itself was redeemable only in person at a Yamaha dealership, we were nevertheless eager to let Yamaha know how we felt about the new WaveRunner. The offer expired and we never redeemed it.
In 2022, after the purchase of our Kawasaki Ultra 310LX-S JetSki, we received a total of three separate consumer satisfaction surveys. The first survey offered a $10 gift card for completion, so naturally, we jumped at the chance to get some extra “pocket change” to spend on the new ski.
The next survey we received focused on the performance and functionality of the JetSki, asking very specific questions about the engine’s responsiveness, the comfort of the seat, and the position of the handlebars. This particular survey offered the chance to win a $1,000 gift card for completing the survey. Sadly, we were not a winner.
We were pretty surprised when a third Kawasaki customer survey arrived, promising another $10 Mastercard for completion. This survey collected a variety of demographic information, as well as asking us to rate a wide variety of features, functions, and components. They provided a text box to provide feedback about any issues we were having with the new ski.
Between Kawasaki and Yamaha, Kawasaki sent out the most detailed surveys with the best incentives for completion. This shows us – as a customer – that Kawasaki values our opinion and is eager to provide customers with the best possible product. While Yamaha was first to reach out for an opinion, their incentive to complete the survey was less enticing and the inquiries far less in-depth.