Jun 20, 2020
Have you ever driven a long way to a
vacation, perhaps with kids in the backseat, and heard the whining
query, "are we there yet?" Have you ever wanted to ask that
question yourself? It turns out there are good reasons for that.
It's called the Return Trip Effect, and we discuss it on this
episode of The Intuitive Customer.
Assistant professor Zoey Chen from
the University of Miami Business School published a paper with her
colleague on the concept of the Return Trip Effect titled,
We There Yet?" Here are a few key takeaways from our
discussion with her.
- The Return Trip Effect explains
how the trip to an anticipated destination often feels like it
takes longer than the trip back. Research narrowed it down to two
reasons why it felt this way.
- When you go the first time, you
see different landmarks for the first time that create time
markers. The more time markers you create, the longer the trip
feels. On the way back, you do not see them for the first time, so
they might not be as notable, creating fewer time markers. The
fewer the time markers, the faster the trip
- Anticipatory feelings can
contribute to how long the trip feels. When you want to be
somewhere already, it seems like every second you are not there is
an eternity. The return trip home usually does not carry the same
- The Return Trip Effect
demonstrates how outside influences can affect memories. In this
case, feelings are making you remember how long it took to get
somewhere. Whether or not it did take longer does not bear the same
influence on memory.
- We know that most memories are
subject to the Peak-End Rule, first introduced by Professor Daniel
Kahneman. The Peak-End Rule says that what we remember about an
experience is the most intense emotion we felt and how we felt at
the end. However, memory sometimes begins before the event, in
anticipation of it, which can be the peak
- The Sleeper Effect is a concept
that your brain might overwrite a memory over time, replacing the
experience with the anticipatory experience. This effect occurs
because research shows that positive memories tend to outlast
- People also remember the unique
experience more. The first time makes a significant impression, but
the second of third experience of the same thing does
- People also remember experiences
with brands they feel are personally relevant, meaning brands that
are part of their identity. For example, Apple is a brand I love
and identify with, so I remember my experiences with them
- The information introduced after
an experience, especially close to the conclusion of it while your
feelings are still percolating and memories are forming, can change
your perception of the experience. Additional information can
improve your perception of an experience and also your memory of
There are seven actions you can take
today to help you use what you know about how memories form to
design into your Customer Experience a way to enhance customers'
memories about yours.
- Decide what type of memory
you want people to have about your
experience. Different strategies enhance different
types, so knowing what memory you want customers to have will shape
your enhancement strategy.
- Strive to make experiences
unique. Are you finding ways to create a novel
experience for your customers so they remember them
- Consider the
post-experience. Have you provided additional
information that will improve the experience in customers' minds
and thereby improving their memory of it?
- Remember that endings are
essential. Have you designed a deliberate way to end
the experience that evokes emotions like happiness and pleasure
- Balance building
excitement with maintaining proper expectations. Be sure
that you can deliver on any promises you make customers. Falling
short sabotages your success in creating excellent memories of your
- Design an experience that
reinforces positive memories. People come back to you
not for the experience they have with you but for the experience
that they remember they had with you.
- Be deliberate.
Don't leave the memory formation up to chance; be specific and
detailed about how you deliver your Customer Experience to create
the type of memory that brings customers back for
To discuss this further contact
us at www.BeyondPhilosophy.com
Beyond Philosophy help
organizations unlock growth by discovering customers' hidden, unmet
needs that drive value ($). We then capitalize on this by improving
your customer experience to meet these needs thereby retaining and
acquiring new customers across the market.
This podcast is produced by Resonate Recordings. Click here
find out more.