How to recruit passersby to take an unpaid survey?
July 21, 2010 9:42 PM   Subscribe

I need tips on working as a consumer interviewer/survey-taker -- how do you convince people to give 15 minutes of their time to a survey with no incentive other than having their opinions heard?

I'm interviewing for a position which would require me to convince passersby (specifically, people who are leaving a movie theater) to spend 10-15 minutes doing an online survey at a nearby kiosk. The company doesn't offer any kind of incentive for the consumers taking the survey (though I think it would be much more effective if it did), but it pays the "recruiters" based on how many surveys are completed per hour. The surveys are designed to obtain feedback regarding movie trailers the consumers have just seen. Any suggestions? What pitch would convince you to stop and take a survey?
posted by kaye88 to Work & Money (15 answers total)
For work I've gotten feedback by saying "Help improve the Web". Maybe you can try "Help Improve Movies - your feedback matters and it only takes a minute".
posted by xammerboy at 9:45 PM on July 21, 2010

If you want to influence the world and bend it to you will, note that everyone else is blowing off this chance, which means your opinion will be given disproportionately weight! Abuse your power! Take this survey!
posted by -harlequin- at 9:50 PM on July 21, 2010

What xammerboy said.

I did market research myself by phone a long time ago and later managed market research projects done by phone and mall intercepts. The key to "maximizing completes" is to be approachable and use variants of xammerboy's "your feedback matters" to approach people. Note that even if you're the best interviewer there is, many people won't want to talk to you but don't take it personally, just smile and ask the next person.
posted by birdherder at 10:04 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: I worked in a similar capacity once and it was easy. They do have an incentive -- an opportunity to share their opinion about a new movie. And you are offering that to them! Are they lucky or what? People love to talk about movies. Isn't it great that they can talk to you, and their opinions will actually get back to people who matter? If you can believe this (and why not?), then you'll convey that message with your genuine smile and enthusiastic invitation to participate. If you believe that nobody will want to talk to you and that you'll first have to convince them, your task will be much harder.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:09 PM on July 21, 2010

For the record, nothing has ever worked with me. The instant I sniff even the most remote whiff of phone solicitation, I politely terminate the call. I'm not saying this to discourage you, just to point out that some people aren't worth worrying about. They were never going to respond to your inquiry. It's no weakness at your end.

Good luck.
posted by philip-random at 10:15 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Does the fact that the company doesn't offer a tangible incentive mean that you can't? If this would fly, figure out how much each survey taken is worth to you, and what percentage of that you are willing to forfeit. You might have to do some research before implementing this to hit the right numbers; without incentive, how many people out of 100 take the survey? etc.

Then come up with something cheap and attractive to offer. Candy? A stash of (very) cheap toys to entice families? ("Hey, if your mom takes this short survey, I'll give you this sweet toy car!")

I don't think there's anything unethical about this as you're presumably not conducting peer-reviewed scientific research.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:21 PM on July 21, 2010

Charge them $5.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:44 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

You don't have to incentivize anybody. Some folks will be willing to take the survey, some won't. The ones who see your clipboard and avoid eye-contact? Let 'em go. The ones who engage? All they need is a tiny push - just ask directly if you can have their opinion on the movie they just saw (or whatever).
posted by zanni at 1:49 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I did a good long stint in market research (over the phone) and my advice to you is this: don't try to hornswaggle people that obviously aren't into it into idling away their (seemingly) precious time into answering your questions when they don't clearly don't want to. I always seemed to get much better results, and oddly enough a much better strike rate, when I didn't EVER try to force anyone into it, but rather focused on the folk that were plainly intrigued by what I was hoping to foist onto them. For one, you'll get richer and more interesting results, and for another you won't feel discouraged by all the rejections that you're inevitably going to get. Just try ypur best to be friendly, engaging and interesting/ed. People really do like to give their opinions on things, even if they are tangential to what they are actually interested in- but they certainly don't like to feel pressured or harassed into wasting their (seemingly) precious time.
posted by Philby at 4:46 AM on July 22, 2010

15 minutes is far too long for the context that you're describing. 2 minutes most; 90 seconds is ideal. If you need the kind of detail that takes 15 mins to get you should be handing out cards so people can login to a Surveymonkey survey later and complete it in their own time.
posted by dmt at 6:03 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've done this before. I had the benefit of having some Snickers bars at my disposal. If you can swing that somehow, I'd say your odds are better. Freeze the Snickers bars if it's hot. Also: smile a lot.
posted by xiaolongbao at 7:23 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

What pitch would convince you to stop and take a survey?

I'm afraid I'm with philip-random. There's nothing you could do aside from paying me for 10-15 minutes of my time. $20 would do wonderfully. I haven't answered phone polls for a long time now (even when they're about radio, and I love radio!).

zanni has it right. Some people will be into it, and others will definitely not. Your best bet is identifying the ones who will be.

In an age when you can log on and leave a review and discuss a movie with millions of other people instantly, geez, I can't imagine that many people would be willing to take a 10-minute kiosk survey for free.

I mean, you're basically getting people to provide valuable content, i.e. work, for free. Who's really gonna be into that? Mechanical turks?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:00 AM on July 22, 2010

Also: smile a lot.

That would be the other most effective approach. Flirt shamelessly.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:02 AM on July 22, 2010

Also: smile a lot.

That would be the other most effective approach. Flirt shamelessly.

How do you know when someone's lying to you?
They smile and look you in the eye.
posted by philip-random at 10:24 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the input. I myself am one of those people who will avoid eye contact/hang up at the first sign of any kind of solicitation, so this job really isn't ideal for me. But it might be all I can get right now, the hours are ideal, and the pay isn't too bad.

I don't know yet whether there's a way for me to offer my own incentive, though I doubt it -- based on what I've read, the company adheres to very strict procedures. I definitely agree that there are much better ways, like Survey Monkey, to get people's detailed opinions in this day and age. Unfortunately, I don't have any input on that end of things. But I'll give your suggestions a try and see how it goes.
posted by kaye88 at 6:13 PM on July 22, 2010

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