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The Intuitive Customer - Improve Your Customer Experience To Gain Growth

Mar 16, 2019

Customers Are Irrational! Why? What Can We Do About It?

Many times, when I talk about irrationality in customer behavior, people in the business-to-business (B2B) arena tune out. However, this is a mistake. All customers are irrational, whether they are making business decisions or consumer ones.

This episode of The Intuitive Customer explores customer irrationality. We talk about what we mean by it, how it changes our perception of an experience, and what organizations can do to design Customer Experience strategies that work with irrationality.



Many years ago, I worked at British Telecom (BT). I was leading a team of 15 people in a project to purchase a new CRM for the organization, a large investment with big repercussions for our day-to-day operations.

Naturally, you might assume since this was a business decision, I was going to be very “business-minded” about it, which is to say rational or logical. It turned out, however, that when it came time to go with the rational decision to buy one company’s CRM that the team more or less agreed upon, my irrational or emotional side came out.

Surprisingly, we went with the emotional decision and chose another company’s CRM. There were a lot of risks with this decision, not the least of which was that it was more expensive than the other product we were considering.

Spoiler alert: It worked out well with the CRM we chose. And thank goodness for that!


Your Customers Probably Don’t Know They Are Behaving Irrationally

If present-day-me were to travel back to talk to BT-me and say I was behaving irrationally, I likely wouldn’t have believed present-day-me. Most people think they are rational about decisions.

What’s more is that we had specifically designed the CRM decision to be as rational as possible. There was a pre-discussion about the CRM systems we would consider and how we would evaluate them fairly. We even had an elaborate matrix that would assist us in making the decision. 

But when push came to shove, we went with our instincts, not the company the matrix recommended. Even though we meant to make a purely logical decision, we didn’t, for completely emotional reasons. 

Your customers are doing the same thing. The word irrational in this context means how we behave when motivated by emotions. Likewise, rational means how we behave when motivated by logic.

Human behavior is rarely motivated by pure logic. Emotions almost always get involved. However, this idea is intimidating to many “business-minded” individuals.

When you talk about emotions, you talk about touchy-feely subjects that don’t appeal to people who pride themselves on making rational decisions. That is where the disconnect occurs. Ironically, the rational individuals are making an emotional decision about managing customer emotions. 

Listen to the podcast in its entirety to learn more about what customer irrationality is, why it happens, and what you can do about it for your Customer Experience.


The Intuitive Customer podcasts are designed to explain the psychological concepts behind customer behavior.

If you would like to find out from one of our CX consultants how you can implement the concepts we discussed in your organization’s marketing to improve customer loyalty and retention, contact us at

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