Brand Experience

How L.L. Bean Swipes Right With Tinder-style Customer Surveys

L.L. Bean tests a Tinder-style survey and learns that it yields a more enjoyable user experience - and results the company is putting to use.

106-year-old L.L.Bean is a pioneer in delivering remarkable customer experiences. From their handcrafted, Made-in-Maine, Bean Boots to their 24/7/365-day-open flagship store, L.L.Bean has built a sustainable business by offering high-quality products and treating the customer well.

"Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more."-Leon Leonwood Bean

As more Consumer Insight teams send out more surveys, more consumers will be less interested in taking them. Respondent fatigue is a real issue: it lowers the quality and quantity of the data. Plus, many researchers don’t even consider surveys as part of the customer experience. (What kind of brand statement is being made by a company that sends its customers long, boring surveys?)

The Consumer Insights Team at L.L.Bean sought to modernize their insights-gathering methods to be more mobile and user-centered. They were the first brand to test out a new “Tinder swipe” survey style (i.e. swipe right to agree, left to disagree) from experience management pioneer, Qualtrics. Their hypothesis: A “Tinder-style” survey will yield more engaged and honest survey-takers vs. a Likert-scale survey featuring the same questions while providing consistent responses.

The test

A 50-question, mobile-only, opinion survey was designed in two ways: one offered 5-point agreement scale response options; the other provided swipe right/swipe left response options. The surveys were evenly distributed across a sample of 1,000 General Population adults ages 18+.

The results

Bottom line: the “Tinder-style” survey provided a user experience that was preferred by respondents and yielded different distributions of data. Tinder-takers enjoyed the swipe-style survey +10% more than Likert-takers and completed it +22% faster. Plus, its forced binary design (only 2 options rather than 5), generated data that had less variation than the agreement-scale data. This means the data have less nuance, but some organizations find it easier to make use of binary results.

Intriguingly, Tinder-takers disagreed +64% more than Likert-takers disagreed, this result is consistent with research on the known agreement bias that can be present whenever agreement scales are used.

Whoever thought survey design could be so sexy?

Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement of a new Facebook dating app at 2018’s F8 conference will likely expose even more people to the now the infamous Tinder swipe, as Facebook will likely leverage a similar UI in their app design.

“As consumers spend more time on their phones and less time on their laptops, our surveying methods need to adapt. The more fun and modern, the better.” – Julia Durgee, Foresights Analyst, L.L. Bean

Qualtrics’ flexible and easy-to-use customer experience platform makes super-creative, survey design accessible to anyone. Now people can enjoy taking your surveys as much as they appreciate your products and services.

Neil Wielock

Neil Wielock is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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