1997-02-24

Evaluating Mail Survey Techniques for Determining the Value of Vehicle Options 970764

In developing new products and improving existing products, engineers make numerous trade-offs between the cost of a new or modified feature and its value to the customer. One method for estimating value is to ask potential customers their willingness to pay (WTP) for the product change. Their stated WTP may, however, depend upon how the question is framed. Mail survey techniques based upon simulated choice experiments were used for estimating value to the customer. The main objective was to explore how the framing of the survey questions affected the WTP response and if one or more of the methods provided simulated responses in reasonable agreement with actual buyer behavior. It was found that the best way to frame the questions was to give respondents multiple choices for price of the alternative versus the baseline product as opposed to having a choice of only one price or having to write in a price representing their WTP.

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