Many things have changed because of the outbreak of COVID-19. Places once teeming with people are painfully empty. Normal routines of heading out to work, school, and shopping have been forcibly replaced with yet another day at home, in isolation, and with social distance. Playgrounds, once ringing with squeals of delight and laughter, are silent. But one thing has not been altered: people’s desire to make their voice heard.
In the U.S., U.K. and Canada we measure how people respond to invitations to participate in surveys. The good news is people still want to make their voices heard and to have their opinion counted. Response rates have either increased or remained the same.
The fundamental human urge to contribute and learn is unchanged.
Why do people participate?
We interviewed people in the U.S., U.K. and Canada and found that roughly 9 in 10 agree they like to do surveys because:
- “I feel like my opinion makes a difference”
- “I feel like I am doing my part as a good consumer and citizen when I provide feedback”
- “I feel like I am being a trusted advisor when I provide feedback to a company on their products.”
- “I enjoy learning about new things and products when I do surveys.”
- “I do surveys because I want organizations to know where I stand on issues.”
We did video interviews in the U.S. about what people like about doing surveys, and they provide valuable context. People said things like you “feel as if you are contributing something, and at the same time learning something” and “by doing surveys you are shaping the world around you.”
In Great Britain
In Britain we asked people what they would tell a friend about doing surveys. Their answers were revealing. One man said, “I like surveys because it allows me to give out my opinion, and it makes me feel important that my opinion matters.” Mostly, he said, he did surveys because “I think I am making a difference in what we are doing.” Another person suggested that if companies “Don’t know what the customer…know, or want, or think about their products, how are they going to improve them…?”
People want to contribute, learn and make their opinion heard. The fact that is one this that has not changed during this crisis is brilliant. It is one of the few things about society that has not been altered by the COVID-19 virus.
We have an opportunity
In a time of isolation, we, as insights professionals can connect people. We can allow people to have their say. When people are cut off from their usual contacts and interactions, research gives people a chance to connect.
I miss the manager at the coffee shop by my office, whom I have known for years. I wonder how the couple who run the local pita place are getting by. I can’t share a smile, or give a word of thanks to them, and I miss that. But research allows people to continue to participate and be good citizens.
Let’s keep the conversation going.