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Survey Winners!

August 5, 2011

Last month, I sent most of my registered users a link to a short survey to fill out to get a feel of how they liked the site, what features they used, and other aspects of their meal planning habits.  The usefulness of the results far exceeded my expectations, and I’ve decided to write a three part blog series to go over the results.  Since I decided to incentivize my respondents with a few prizes, the first post will announce those winners and illustrate how I came to choose them.  The second part will go over what I learned from the survey, and the third post will announce some decisions I’ve made around what direction to take the site based on this user feedback.  So stay tuned for some exciting news!

First off, I was originally planning on offering a top prize (a Cuisinart food processor), a second place prize (an All-Clad 10″ fry pan) and a third place prize of a 11″x14″ bamboo cutting board.  After spending several hours trying to stack rank answers against each other, it became increasingly apparent that there were simply too many excellent responses to just give away three prizes.  So I decided to stick with the food processor and fry pan, but send bamboo cutting boards to anyone I thought did a great job.  I also decided to “disqualify” any results sent in from friends and family, as the goal here is to connect with real life customers.  A lot of these respondents have probably only used the site a few times, and sending them a nice fry pan or cutting board will, hopefully, plant my brand name into their mind every time they use it.  Plus, they’re bound to tell a few people how they came across their fancy new kitchen gadget.  Not to knock on my friends or family, but such a gift would probably be wasted upon them if valued for said purpose.

So, in the end I decided to send out seven prizes in total.  The winner of the food processor (the most expensive gift) stuck out at me right away, and I pretty much knew it was the winner right when I read it.  Choosing between the fry pan recipient and the first cutting board awardee proved to be quite difficult.  Both answers were incredibly helpful, honest and well thought out.  I found myself trying to “score” each response along different dimensions; how actionable the feedback was (“you should do this”,) how detailed the answers were, how clear it was that their responses were based on real usage, and anything else I could think of.  Yet, the scores came out even no matter what I did.  I almost decided to give out two fry pans, but eventually I came to a conclusion.

Unfortunately, giving away stuff is harder than it seems.  Two of the seven winners (including the second place fry pan winner) never replied to my emails after several attempts.  Either they don’t really care enough, or my email just got lost in the spam folder.  I don’t want to harass them if they’re clearly not interested, so I gave up.  I thought about giving the pan to the very close third place winner, but she also failed to respond.  Perhaps some good advice would be to set a time limit for people to claim their prizes if you run such a survey.

I also asked their permission to share their names in this post, to which all of them agreed.  So congratulations to the following winners!

First Place: Tish Raymond (York, PA)

Tish stumbled across KitchenPC while Googling for Tandoori Chicken recipes, and liked the matches on my site the best.  She decided to look around the site, and liked it enough to sign up.  It was quite clear from her comments that she uses the site to figure out what to make from the ingredients she has on hand, plan out her shopping list, and store the recipes she’ll be cooking later in the week.  One comment I really liked was “[KitchenPC is] head and shoulders above the crowd of other sites I use.  I don’t know who designed this site, but whomever it was, you’re not paying them enough!” – I’d love to pass along that comment to my designers over in Poland, but I’m somewhat afraid they’d start charging me more!  Either way, thanks for the great feedback, Tish, and enjoy your new food processor!

Runner-Up: Jennette McGrew (Magnolia, IA)

Jennette provided some great feedback regarding pre-built meal plans.  She’s looking for user friendly recipes with very few ingredients and a short prep time.  She’s also looking for recipes easy to freeze, so I get the idea she’s someone who cooks a lot at once and serves it later.  KitchenPC should be perfect for her!

Runner-Up: Crystal Williams (Dayton, OH)

Crystal was one of the many respondents who mentioned the pantry, but she mentioned she uses it to add items that are on sale and then finds ways to use those ingredients.  This is incredibly valuable feedback for me, as the pantry wasn’t really designed for this purpose.  These sorts of comments make it even more clear that KitchenPC fails as any sort of “inventory management system,” but illustrates new uses that users are coming up with themselves.  Crystal also provided all sorts of great ideas for features she would like to see on the site.

Runner-Up: Christine Kelly (Tacoma, WA)

Christine is definitely my target user.  She uses the site to plan meals for the whole week and figure out what she needs to buy at the store.  She had some great ideas around linking recipes; for example, taking one recipe and trying to figure out what would go with it.  It did get me thinking a bit about exactly what this means.

Runner-Up: Heidi E. (Andover, MA)

Heidi and her husband are tired of eating the same thing over and over again.  She likes the quality of the recipes on KitchenPC and likes how she can save them easily.  She spends one or two days searching for recipes, then starts cooking.  She’s looking for heart-friendly meal planning and to save money.

A huge thank you to everyone who responded!

All 93 responses were great.  Almost everyone filled in the text boxes and gave detailed answers.  It was clear everyone who took the time to respond was a real user with valid feedback.  Some of the trends I noticed when combing through the results were incredibly surprising, and as a whole, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  It’s clear to me that KitchenPC has a real future and that there’s people out there that are anxious for it to succeed.

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From → Business

One Comment
  1. Lois permalink

    What great results from your suvey! Anxiously awaiting Parts 2 and 3 of your blog…

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