Do you like canned laughter?
Most people will tell you they don’t. It sounds fake, stupid and obvious.
So why then do so many comedy shows do it?
Because it works.
Tests have shown that canned laughter makes audiences laugh longer and more often when funny material is shown.
What’s more, some evidence shows that canned laughter is most effective for poor jokes.
I think we can all vouch for that.
Especially when they are uncertain, people look to what other people do to determine what they do.
Most people are followers. It’s safer like that. If everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t you?
Let me give you another example.
If you stay more than one night in a hotel, you’ll often see a notice in the bathroom to encourage you to reuse towels and linens.
They’ll normally use an argument based on environmental protection. This is pretty effective and leads to 75% compliance.
But what if there was a better way?
Why not tell people that 75% of guests reused their towels? In a study reported in Psychology Today, by pointing out that a majority of guests did so, towel reuse was increased by 26%.
What does that tell us about people? Are we all just sheep? Not necessarily.
We’re more likely to follow the crowd when we’re uncertain about how to behave.
Changing the wording again on the towels notice adding “so please do so as well”, led to a 33% increase in reuse.
The science is telling us here that rather than relying on our ability to persuade others, we can point to what others are already doing, especially many”similar” others.
A similar principle applies to television commercials. You hear the call to action, “operators are standing by” which implies that operators are hanging around waiting for you to call. Rather than “if we’re busy, please call again”. The second response says that other people like to offer so much that the phone lines are busy it may persuade others to act similarly.
That’s all very interesting, but what does it mean for your business?
Amazon has built a business based on the power of testimonials from satisfied customers. They show your target audience of people who are similar to them have enjoyed your product or service.
That’s just what you should be doing because it shows that people trust you enough to do business with you and have liked the experience.
Put the good ones on your website and don’t ignore the bad ones, learn from them.
It might be a salutary experience, but you’ll learn from it