The 2021 Customer Satisfaction Survey Results Are In
We just wrapped up our fourth annual customer satisfaction survey, asking every customer from 2021 to respond to our most detailed questions to-date. Thirty-one percent of them heeded our call, providing us a bounty of actionable data. Participants could remain anonymous or submit their name and email for a chance to win a modest gift. Thanks to each of you who took the time to participate!
The highlights that follow are a summary of the survey responses only and not necessarily an exact reflection of our overall customer base. That said, the results do seem consistent with our overall experience of the year.
Who Is Using Adaptive Paddling Equipment?
Our customers come in all shapes and sizes – literally. Many of them are people with disabilities, some are long time paddlers, and many are parents, spouses or friends trying to find adaptive equipment that will level the playing field for someone they love. (You wouldn't believe how many people bought an adaptive paddle for a friend this year!) Of those who responded to the survey, about 60% were individual consumers and 40% were affiliated with an organization or group.
Of the individuals who responded to our survey, 60% said they were experienced paddlers who were looking for a way to keep doing what they love when things like arthritis, shoulder surgeries or even strokes were threatening to slow them down. They tended to purchase the Gamut Paddle Holder. Adaptive programs, on the other hand, tended to skew towards the Versa Paddle, which is suited for people with more significant mobility limitations. Outriggers were popular among all categories of customers.
By the Numbers
The overarching reasons why people sought our adaptive gears come as no surprise:
43% have a disability that makes kayaking challenging
39% desire to do something fun independently
32% want to paddle longer without fatigue or pain
The range of circumstances bringing people to adaptive kayaking, however, is quite varied. These is some overlap in these areas:
40% have some form of paralysis
36% have use of only one arm
32% have a spinal cord injury
29% have Cerebral Palsy
25% have a stroke
21% have a brain injury
21% have joint pain or aches and pains associated with aging
18% have neuromuscular problems
14% have a rotator cuff or shoulder injury
14% have Autism Spectrum Disorder
14% have Arthritis
7% have mental health challenges (e.g., PTSD)
In addition, a growing number of physical and recreational therapists have begun recommending adaptive paddling to their clients. We've received a number of referrals through local Veterans Administration clinics around the country as well as other rehab facilities. Quite a few veterans have reached out to us directly as well.
32% (of organizations) want to increase outdoor access for people with disabilities
29% (of organizations) want to provide therapeutic recreational opportunities
We've known for some time that people with quadriplegia, hemiplegia and paraplegia could participate in adaptive kayaking. In addition, we're seeing more people with muscular dystrophy, ALS, Cerebral Palsy and those on the autism spectrum find enjoyment on the water through kayaking. And of course, amputees and people with strokes and spinal cord injuries have benefited from the ability to paddle with one hand using the Versa Paddle.
What Adaptive Gear Are They Using
We encourage customers to call or email us with questions before they make a purchase, and during those conversations we often help them identify other equipment they might need as well as guide them to the type of kayak that might be right for them if they don't yet have one.
For survey respondents that moved forward with a purchase, 63% bought or used our Versa Paddle (for either sit-inside or sit-on-top kayaks); 29% our Gamut Paddle Holder; and 43% our kayak and outriggers. In addition, 7% of respondents engaged in an adaptive consultation, purchased a kayak cart or made some other purchase.
High Marks for Product Quality & Customer Service
At the end of the day, what everything comes down to is "Did the customer get what they paid for and feel good about the purchase?" To that end, we asked customers to tell us their level of satisfaction on a number of different factors. We were pleased to see a strong performance on the four that matter most to us: the quality, value and performance of our products, and our customer service.
Speaking of which, one of the perks of being a small, family-owned business is that you can give one-on-one, personal attention to every person who picks up the phone or takes the time to write an email. It's always fun to hear how surprised someone is when they get a quick, personal response to their inquiry from us in this era of chat-bots and self-help documentation! If it's one small way we can differentiate ourselves, we'll take it!
We also asked customers two open-ended questions: what they liked best about their experience with us or using our products, and what they liked least. Here's a representative sampling of what they said.
Of course we always want to do better, so we are fully prepared to take our lumps. Fortunately, we were not caught off guard by any of the critical feedback we received.
We have known for quite some time, for example, that an adhesive agent on one section of our product can break after extreme temperature changes and that we have to improve the structural integrity of a particular joint.
The good news is that we are in the process of redesigning these (and other) features as we speak in preparation for our next manufacturing run. Nonetheless, it is good to hear from a wide range of customers to make sure we're not missing anything.
Our take-aways from this year's survey are much the same as last year: continue to make iterative improvements and correct existing design flaws. In addition, we'll continue to strive to offer a broader range of mounts -- another set of plans that is in the works -- as well as expand our distribution significantly in the coming year.
Thank you to everyone who engaged with us this year! We're very much looking forward to the coming season with you!