Two approaches to make your surveys more fun (and engaging)
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was quoted as saying: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts.”
When you think about the hosts of a good party, certain descriptors come to mind: thoughtful, generous, lively, interesting, fun, etc. There are probably very few companies that would use many of those words to describe the experience they provide. So this may be a new way of thinking about customer service — going beyond satisfaction and seeking to delight. It’s a lofty goal, but let’s consider the Southwest Airlines flight attendant who went viral this week with more than four million views for doing impressions of Looney Tunes characters, a move that delighted the passengers and drew spontaneous applause.
“Be vewy vewy quiet, we have reached your destination,” the attendant announced over the plane’s intercom.
That feels like something that would happen at a party, not on a commercial plane, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what some progressive companies are doing these days to separate themselves from the competition. They’re providing unique experiences, delivered by empowered, informed employees who have fun doing their jobs and as a result drive increases in customer engagement and loyalty. (For more on employee engagement, please see these recent posts: 3 surefire ways to drive employee engagement and Engaging employees in your customer experience strategy).
How can we apply this successful tactic in the world of feedback?
Before answering that question, I will add the caveat that “fun” experiences will not work for every industry or business, and should be entirely avoided by some. As the famous Curb Your Enthusiasm “Casual Friday” episode hilariously depicted, most of us don’t want a guy in a cowboy outfit being our estate lawyer or handling our money. Professionalism and decorum in certain businesses, please.
However, for the rest of us, we might be able to have a little fun, especially with employee surveys which may provide more wiggle room than customer surveys. Let’s face it, many of the surveys we receive are bland and boring and don’t exactly leap off the screen. Plus, survey questions can be vague and loaded with corporate buzzwords that add an extra layer of blah.
How can we step outside the box of “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree,” and get the kind of positive response, smiles, and attention that the Southwest flight attendant received? Here are two different approaches for sassier surveys:
- Mix a humorous question or two into your regular “serious” survey questions. The trick here is that you can’t stray from the “results first” principle, meaning that if you don’t plan on using the data to improve the business, you can’t ask it. Come up with a funny question that still gathers info you want. For example, maybe you ask midway through the survey, “Are we boring you yet?” with answers like a) yes, just like my last phone service engagement with you or b) of course not; you could never bore me. Questions like these could reveal that you need to spice up the phone scripts or enable greater agent autonomy to provide more authentic, engaging service. In short, have fun with the wording, but make sure the answers provide actual insight into their experience.
- Ask your standard survey questions in a funny way. This would be an exercise in finding fun ways to rewrite your standard questions so that they stir people up a little with their creativity and thus, draw higher response rates. Think of how eVite allows users to select different RSVP response sets beyond the boring old Yes, No, Maybe, using responses like 1) Heck Yeah 2) No Way (but have a good excuse) 3) Wishy Washy. With just a little cleverness, you may get customers and employees to smile and offer their time and insights in appreciation for you bringing a bit of levity to your survey. To underscore the caveat above again, however, this can ONLY work in certain circumstances, interactions, and industries. Use your best judgement for your audience.
These approaches could serve to benefit you (i.e. you’ll get more responses) and your customers/employees (i.e. they’ll enjoy providing feedback outside the normal corporate box). If you’ve got the type of business or culture that won’t offend people with a bit of sass, then give it a try. After all, to reference the Bezos quotation again, your customers are your party guests and you’re the host. What kind of party do you want it to be? Hopefully, not one where everyone wants to leave early.