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May 20, 2020

Helping Your First Shots Clients Return—It’s All in the Survey


First Shots® host ranges have developed numerous strategies to encourage participants to complete the post event survey to receive a $25 rewards coupon NSSF® provides upon survey completion to get them back to their facilities. We talked with several range owners and operators who have experienced great success with these tactics to learn what works for them.

The Sportsman’s Shop—Personal Approach and Social Media

Jessica Keffer of The Sportsman’s Shop in East Earl, Pennsylvania, uses a high-touch, personal approach. “We point out the survey code at the beginning of the class and then again at the end,” she says. Her staff and instructors incentivize taking the survey by including a coupon sheet with discounts on things new shooters need that can be used in combination with the NSSF reward.

“We bring everyone back to the classroom after their range experience and then spend time talking about our other classes and training options. We encourage them to take the survey right there, before they leave the range, and we also talk to each person individually and thank them for coming,” she said, adding that her team also take photos of attendees and their targets and posts them to the range’s Facebook page.

The Sportsman’s Shop has a high adoption rate of people tagging themselves and sharing these social media posts with their friends, evidence that they have had a great time and are likely to return. Overall, this personal approach has resulted in 50 percent of the range’s First Shots participants returning for additional target shooting activities, instruction and purchases.

Top Gun Handgun Training and Shooting Center—QR Codes Keep Things Simple

Several ranges we spoke with said they use a variation of “Do you want to make $25?” to keep interest high in returning to the range after taking part in a First Shots event. Kyle Harrison of Top Gun Handgun Training and Shooting Center in Houston, Texas, appeals to the interest participants have in receiving the reward promptly. At the end of the class, he displays a QR code on a screen in the classroom and encourages everyone to get out their smartphones, use the QR code to go to the survey start page and complete the survey right there before they leave the range. He says this works very well and he hasn’t experienced any technical difficulties.

Harrison noted that he enjoys staying behind in the classroom as his instructors rotate groups through their range time. He answers questions about the range, training options and more, using that time to build rapport with the students, which also encourages them to come back.

Shooters World—Doing Unto Others

Carmen Lout of Shooters World in Orlando says her First Shots instructors ask attendees to take the survey because it helps us justify the program’s validity. She said her instructors will say, “If you had a good time, we need your feedback because we need to keep this program going for others.”

Positioning the survey as a “give-back” is particularly effective for Shooters World since it doesn’t charge a fee to attend its First Shots classes; the “give back” is positioned as a “do the right thing” obligation for being able to take the class for free. (Most First Shots host ranges charge a small fee—$25 to $50—to attend a First Shots class, finding that this greatly reduces the problem of no-shows.”

Patty Quattrini of Shooters World location in Florida’s The Villages says the $25 reward NSSF provides for taking the survey is frosting on the cake for their facility’s attendees. They strive to deliver the best firearms experience possible, she says, by positioning the reward as “paying you to take this class.”

Texas Gun Club—Incentivizing Instructors Translates to a Great Customer Experience

Craig Davis of Stafford’s Texas Gun Club says they offer incentives to their instructors to increase the number of attendees who complete the survey. Each instructor is encouraged to set the stage for the survey (and NSSF’s $25 reward) at the beginning of the class—the very first thing they do is have students write the survey code in their handbook. “We tell them taking the survey is very important and that they will get $25 to use on anything,” Davis said. “Then we end the class with another reminder to take the survey and sign up for another class before they leave the range that day.”

Even though the student doesn’t have the $25 reward yet, Texas Gun Club offers an immediate discount on its Handgun 101 class, as well as an extra bonus when they return with the coupon. “It’s a strong sales tool,” says Davis. Texas Gun Club also added a third incentive of 50-percent off a range fee pass for First Shots class participants.

Survey Feedback is Valuable

First Shots is, of course, about introducing people to firearms in a safe, responsible and enjoyable manner, because that’s what will encourage them to return to the range. While the survey and NSSF’s $25 reward for taking it, as well as other discounts or coupons a range provides, go a long way toward supporting those return visits, the survey results themselves holds immense value for the host ranges.

Range managers tell us they use the survey feedback to improve the class experience by sharing the results with their instructors. Range marketing teams also use survey results to create promotional materials to encourage new shooters to try out a First Shots experience.

Want Those Surveys Completed? Here’s a Tip

If you’re concerned your First Shots participants aren’t taking the class survey once they leave the class, begin the survey for them. Simply enter their email address and class code information into the survey start page. If a participant has already started the survey, the system won’t enter a duplicate, but if they haven’t gotten around to it yet, this is a friendly way to get them started.

Participants receive the survey notification via email. If they don’t take the survey within a certain period, a reminder email will be sent.

Have questions about First Shots or need help improving your First Shots survey participation? Want to tell us about how First Shots is working to improve your client base and customer engagement? Contact Ann Gamauf, NSSF Retail & Range Business Development Coordinator, at agamauf@nssf.orgf or 203-426-1320 ext. 247.

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