Fun & Games Until We Learn About Our Customers

I recently found myself brainstorming fun and engaging ways to get my colleagues at AWeber immersed in user research findings. Despite taking a collaborative approach to conducting user research and building personas, my team members’ understanding of our customers was not as deep as mine. Additionally, new hires weren’t around when we conducted our research, so I had to educate them on the needs of our customers.

After much consideration, the perfect solution dawned on me: AWeber Customer Quizzo.

Team Members Playing Quizzo

Team members contemplating a tough question during quizzo.

What is Quizzo?

If you’re not familiar, quizzo is a trivia game typically played at bars, where teams of patrons answer trivia questions. Teams earn one point for each question correctly answered. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. It’s simple, fun, and a great way to pass the time over beers on a Wednesday night.

We realized we could do the same thing at AWeber, just during business hours and minus the beer.

But Shouldn’t the Team be Involved in User Research Up Front?

Yes, it’s best practice to conduct user research and/or build personas collaboratively so that your stakeholders or team members understand them up front. We took this approach when crafting the personas, but the engineering team at AWeber is huge, so not everyone could participate. In addition, we have a significant number of new team members who joined after the personas were created. Showing them the posters of our personas wasn’t enough to get them channeling our customers.

Why Quizzo of all Things?

We entertained a wealth of ideas. Should we give more presentations about our personas? Should we hang more posters around the office? Someone even suggested hanging personas posters inside the bathroom stalls (creepy but admittedly very funny). We could also infuse our three personas—Molly, Mark, and Alex—into more team discussions. These were all great ideas, but we wanted something a little more memorable and hands-on. We wanted not only to convey information, but to make it stick.

One of AWeber’s core values is Don’t take ourselves too seriously. Have fun. So luckily, our work culture encourages game-like ways of solving problems. It dawned on me that a quizzo tournament would be educational and a boatload of fun. I used to run tech and design-themed quizzo for PhillyCHI (Philadelphia’s UX meetup) a few years ago, and since I had a thorough understanding of our customers, I knew I could put a game together in a reasonable amount of time.

My colleagues loved the idea of quizzo, so I ran with it. Then came the next challenge: How would we encourage busy team members to attend our one hour quizzo tournament?

Generating Interest

Since I was so excited about this activity, it was easy for me to hype up the game. Our in-house print designer was also kind enough to design and print “AWeber Customer Quizzo Ninja Awards” for members of the winning team. I sent an image of these out to the team ahead of time to pique interest.

AWeber Customer Quizzo Ninja Award

Customer Quizzo Ninja Awards, created by our in-house designer Mike Smith, were given to all the winning team members.

I also put together surprise bags with “mystery prizes” for the winning team members. (These consisted of goofy, modest prizes like Batman socks and a rubber ducky dish scrubber.)

Last but not least, I sent out links to survey results, personas, and other research documents that had all the “answers.” This would get them to “prep” for the game, a.k.a. read up and learn about our customers.

Trivia Questions & Game

On game day we had a total of 5 teams (approximately 30 people). Teams became very competitive, especially approaching the last round.

We asked an abundance of questions, but one of my favorite questions was the customer spotlight.

We have three personas, so I picked three actual customers from past user interviews that represent each persona. I displayed a screenshot of the customer’s website, explained her business/profession, and described her paint points, goals, and positive experiences. I then asked the team to write down which persona she most closely represented.

Additional questions were based on various research findings and survey results. For example, I asked the team what percentage of our customer base is female. I also posed fill-in-the-blank questions such as “X% of customers surveyed indicated that they use ? as a CMS/blogging platform for their websites.” (The answer is WordPress.)

The Winners

The winning team won by only a single point. They earned surprised bags filled with goofy socks and AWeber Customer Quizzo Ninja Awards. Everyone had fun, and team members have since told me they’ve channeled some of the key learnings of the game into their work.

Run Your Own Activities at Work

If your culture supports this type of learning (and is willing to invest the time and energy into making it happen), by all means, go for it. There are plenty of games you can facilitate for productive learning at work. For inspiration and ideas, check out:

  • Gamestorming by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo.

  • Luke Hohmann’s Innovation Games (I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard great things).

  • Kevin Hoffman, whom I worked closely with at Happy Cog, speaks, writes, and conducts workshops on better collaboration and meeting design. Check out his site Good Kickoff Meetings for activities and games.

If you’d like details on how to run quizzo at your organization, feel free to contact me. I’m more than happy to show you how to run the game.