Friday, 11 March 2011

The 7 power phrases to boost question responses

1. "We challenge you.." : This phrase seems to trigger peoples competitive spirit and when used in the right way you can often farm 2 or 3 times as many answers out of people.

2. "You have 1 minute..":  It causes a bit of a panic reaction amongst respondent but is a great way of encouraging spontaneous thought and whilst 1 minute does not seem much time it is fact 30 seconds longer that the average time a person naturally spend answering an open ended question in most surveys.

3. " In no more than 5 words...":  I don't know why but people like describing things in a few words like this but they do, its quite fun. Again 5 psychologically sounds like you are asking them to limit themselves, but in reality you are actually extending..if you asked people to list words they would use to describe thing you often only get 2 or 3 so 5 is good!

4. "Every little detail helps..": This phrase can help increase the volume of feedback by 10-20% depending on how you use it - ok a relatively small amount by hey - every little helps!

5.  "Because…": Why do you want to know this... may not think it is important to explain what you are doing or why but respondent are often interested and if you let them into your motives you can encourage more active participation.

6." Imagine…": This word takes you all over the place, can can unlock whole new mindsets amongst respondents.  The more imaginatively use use this word the more imaginative the answers you get .  "Imagine  you had £1000 to spend online buying any stuff you liked in the next hour, what would you do..."

7. "This part is voluntary…": This is one of the most powerful phrases you can use in an online survey. It is counter intuitive to make questions voluntary but it is an extremely powerful piece of behavioural psychology that actually can encourage greater levels of active participation.  We have experimented with do this at the end of a quite boring 20 minute survey for the last section we said  "this last part is voluntary..."  Over 90% agreed to do it, mostly I think out of curiosity and what's we found the they spent 60% more time doing the task  versus a control cell who were just asked to do the task anyway.  The psychology of this is that once you have said yes it is an emotional commitment you feel you have made and we are all socially conditioned to do what we say we will do.

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