The Surprising Top 5 Reasons for Choosing Where We Buy Gas

In February of 2017, Market Force fielded research about the consumer experiences at gas and convenience stations. Over 11,000 responses were received. We asked a variety of questions—including what determines where they purchase fuel. The answers may surprise you:

Price  77% of consumers rated price as a key component for where to fuel. Price/gallon tends to be very competitive—within a few cents—so filling a ten gallon tank will only save a few quarters. But it still matters, and petro-convenience retailers will continue to pour money into real-time predictive algorithms to set pricing.

Good lighting  Security absolutely plays a role. We judge where to fuel based on whether a site is well lit and maintained and it’s easy to see inside the convenience store.

Fuel quality  The majors like BP, Shell, and Phillips 66 emphasize fuel quality. That matters as 48% of consumers gave it a 5 for importance.

Payment form  Consumers want a no-hassle experience at their petro convenience station. Offering different forms of payment (credit card, cash, a mobile app) can make it easy—but the credit card reader and the app technology had better work.

Easy entry and exits The choice to turn left or right, parking, and getting back out on the highway continue to matter.

In sum, consumers look at price, security, fuel quality, easy ways to pay, and ingress/egress when choosing where to purchase fuel. Brands must pay particular attention to these five items to be an attractive choice in a highly competitive market.

The graph below summarizes consumer ratings of importance for twenty attributes. Each was rated on a 5 point scale, where 1 = not at all important, 5 = very important.

If you’d like to learn more about our research and see the competitive benchmark results for over 30 brands, click here to schedule a briefing. And to see how one of our clients, Phillips 66, partners with Market Force to create great customer experience, watch the video.

Gail Funderburk serves as vertical practice lead for the grocery industry. She works with national grocery chains as well as regional providers, focusing on how to improve same store sales and capture market share in this fiercely competitive industry.

Three Ways to Increase Your Survey Response Rates

Every brand wants customers to provide feedback. That feedback ensures that the brand has solid metrics around the customer experience being delivered by each of its locations—and can then help each location meet or exceed various goals.

A 2015 research study conducted by Market Force showed that 83% of all consumers had completed at least one survey in the past 12 months, with an average of three to four being completed in that same time period. That’s good news. The bad news is that they are bombarded with requests to give their feedback. Both the market research and customer experience industries suffer from response fatigue. So how can you ensure every location in your brand receives the feedback they need to delight customers? 

1. Let customers use the channel they prefer to respond to you—and don’t make assumptions. In a recent pilot for a major petro-convenience retailer, Market Force tracked what channel consumers used to respond to surveys. You may be surprised:

  • 24% used the URL invitation to begin the survey
  • 12% scanned the QR code (no kidding!)
  • 40% used the SMS text code
  • 15% used Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

2. Make the survey visible. We see this mistake so often. The only visibility to the survey is the receipt tape—and that’s not often easily seen! Augment your receipt tapes with great materials that include the SMS text code, the QR code, the phone number, and the URL. Use window clings, table tents, print on bags and cups, have a “business card” at the register . . . all of these things will help you increase the chances that customers see the invitation and respond.

3. Offer a smart and flexible incentive. In our 2015 research consumers indicated that they are most likely to respond when they get a gift card or a have a bounce back—of course. That’s expensive, but if you can manage budget for that, it’s important to offer. Sweepstakes do work, but if you use them, make sure you have many chances of winning smaller prizes rather than one big prize with a low probability of winning. Finally, do consider giving the winner the option to contribute monies toward a charity supported by the brand. There are some do-gooders out there who prefer this and it’s great for building up the brand reputation and support philanthropic initiatives.

Getting a consistent flow of 20 to 30 surveys per month per location takes resources and planning. Make it your mission so every location has what they need to delight their customers and be an A player in your organization. For more information about Market Force’s approach to customer experience surveys:

  Download our Solution Sheet

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To discuss your needs for improving performance for your multi-location brand, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss best practices for measuring the customer experience and compliance to brand standards, using analytics to understand what matters most and the ROI for change, and technology solutions that integrate large quantities of data on one single platform. We look forward to a great discussion!

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