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Disguising your surveys (for more responses!) using the science of fun

What do costumes, Cyndi Lauper and the science of fun have to do with surveys?

Recently, a theater owner came to me with disappointing response numbers on his survey. He conveyed the frustration of rushing into work to log on to his dashboard and check what he was sure would be a massive surge in his survey responses, only to see that the surge was not quite as intense as he had thought. UGH.

I immediately pulled up his survey and noticed a few things. First, he had amazing questions. They were well written and prompted great feedback data. Secondly, his questions covered everything he needed to know about customer preference -- from seating to screen resolution to customer service -- and ended with an NPS question. Perfect, right?

Not quite. The week the survey went live, he got a disheartening amount of responses. He didn't understand. Why wouldn't moviegoers want to take his survey where they could have a voice in their theatre, dictate what concessions to carry, what discounts to give, and what loyalty card rewards to offer? But the truth is, he forgot one essential lesson we learned from Cindi Lauper in the 80's: girls (and guys) “just want to have fun.” His survey, although thorough, was not fun.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/impact-gamification-todays-learning-world-i-elearning-consultant/

After conferring with my client, we decided to do another survey. It would contain the same awesome questions, but it would be disguised as a "Best Summer Beach Movie" contest. I simply added a question giving respondents a choice of six summer beach movies and had them pick their favorite. I let them know that the movie with the most votes would be played in the theater on a special day. Responses flooded in. During the first week, responses went up by 62%.

We were so pleased to see those numbers go up. As we learned in Stuart Brown's Ted Talk, nothing lights up the brain like fun! Suddenly you're engaged. You're curious. You're awake!  

Fun lights up the brain

Like we've said before, if you want to build a loyal customer base and make better business decisions, you need to be actively engaged with them. Customers will express their opinions. They want to. However, you may need to get their attention by taking that plain-Jane survey and dressing it up in a fun costume. 

You can get very clever by dressing up each question in a general theme or by conducting a contest. In fact, Forbes mentioned contests as one of the 8 ways to engage better with customers.

Don't forget, you will need to provide choices for respondents to choose from. We suggest using multiple choice questions and giving four or five answer options. Comment questions will not work for this, as you will have far too many answers.

Here are a few ideas for survey costumes and contests:

    1. Best Santa Claus in a Christmas Movie -- play the movie that wins at a special viewing before December 24th.
    2. What is the corniest love song? -- reward participants with a free download of the winning song.
    3. Who is man's real best friend, cats or dogs? -- for each patron who voted, give a donation to an animal shelter.
    4. Best Baseball Movie -- participants are entered into a drawing for baseball tickets.
    5. Favorite Craft Beer -- give participants $1 off concession menu items.

Once you think of a fun survey theme, you should put it out on social media. Your customers will do the rest. For example, a survey dressed up like a contest of "Who is man's real best friend-dogs or cats,” will get a flurry of comments and conversation.

You want to use lighthearted topics that people love to talk about such as pets, kids, holidays, and sports. The fun aspect encourages customers to make their voices heard, and while they are at it, they will answer your most important questions.

This takes us to the broader subject of fun in business and how it affects customer engagement. The science of fun is a hot topic right now. Much like fun creates connection and bonding between parents and children, fun also creates engagement and loyalty between customers and brands.

Try searching the word “fun” on the Psychology Today website. Fun is mentioned more than 13 thousand times on its blog. This is due in part to the authority on all things fun, author Bernie De Koven, who makes the argument that fun is not only critical in numerous developmental processes like fine and gross motor skills, language, socialization, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem solving and learning ability, it is invaluable in all areas of life, including business.

Author James Mapes, creator of The Transformational Coach™, teaches that fun improves engagement and should be incorporated into every business.

Creativity is intelligence having fun! Though this quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein, it could have been said by any genius who understood the value of creativity and fun.

The next time you create a survey, try to incorporate some fun into it. Or, just call one of our Client Experience Experts at SurveyMe and they’ll give you some customized survey costume tips and tricks.


If you want to get some ideas for not so fun (but important!) survey questions, download our survey cheat sheet below! This sheet will give you a jump start in survey creation.

Download here!

 

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