Editor's note: Annie Pettit is chief research officer, North America, at E2E Research. She can be reached at annie.pettit@e2eresearch.com.

Research about insurance isn’t fun. We know. We asked.

We also know why people complete questionnaires. Our survey revealed that 36% of people participate because of the incentive whereas only 11% participate because surveys are fun. These results aren’t surprising because online questionnaires haven’t changed much in the 25 years we’ve been using them. We still rely on templated questions paired with radio buttons, checkboxes and text boxes. People have seen these formats so much that they’re a huge bore in comparison to the easily and quickly accessible 1 million games in the Apple App Store and the half-million games in the Google Play Store. 

Unhappy with those statistics, we decided to run our same survey but with a playful twist to the wording and design. Our new results revealed that 32% of people answer questionnaires because they’re fun and only 25% answer them for the incentives. The simple process of converting a traditionally designed questionnaire into a more modern experience reminded people that surveys can be fun. That they are intrinsically motived to participate in them. 

Imagine how response rates across our industry would improve if every one of us worked to change that 11% to 32% in every one of our questionnaires. It is possible. Here are some techniques you can try right now. 

Use friendly language. Is your writing sterile and scientific or kind and friendly? Most questionnaires are written with formal and professional language because we know that weak language leads to misinterpretations. However, there is a point where words are so formal and precise that they become problematic. They require more advanced reading skills and they feel antiquated and condescending. Excessive formality frustrates and bores people, leading to de...