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The Intuitive Customer - Helping You Improve Your Customer Experience To Gain Growth

Jul 25, 2020

Mastering the Illusion of Control


Humans often feel like we have more control over things than we do. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary—and even regular common sense—we think that if we do things in a certain way, we can influence what happens around us, particularly during sporting events. This concept is called the Illusion of Control.


Key Takeaways 

In this episode of The Intuitive Customer, we delve into the idea of the Illusion of Control and why it is essential to how you design your Customer Experience. The concept has a few key takeaways, including:


  1. The Illusion of Control is pervasive in our daily lives. You can see humans under the influence of the Illusion of Control when they participate in superstitions or pre-game rituals before sporting events. You can also see it in business situations, like when a sales manager criticizes a sales representative for missing quota, which may or may not be within the sales representatives’ control. 
  2. The Illusion of Control manifests in several different ways for a Customer Experience. Customers think they decide for themselves, and they do, but they don’t control everything that leads to that decision. The design of your experience has an enormous influence on how people decide to take action. It starts with advertising messages and package design, but other things along the way affect the purchase also. Furthermore, in brick and mortar situations, even the location in the aisle can affect how a customer chooses.
  3. The Two-Systems model reinforces the concept. The concept that the Intuitive and Rational Systems in our brains work together to make decisions supports this concept as well. We often say that customers buy emotionally and then justify the purchase rationally. The rational justification that occurs could be our minds trying to take control of our impulses. 
  4. The Illusion of Control does not mean it is okay to manipulate people. We believe that deception is wrong. Instead, we encourage you to design your experience to get a particular outcome but leave control in the hands of the customers. After all, that’s usually what customers want anyway. 
  5. The Locus of Control is also an essential concept. This concept describes how some people perceive the power as internal, meaning they control how things go by what they do, and others think of the force as external, that someone or something is doing things to them. We all have different ideas on the Locus of Control and they change situationally. For example, many of us feel the pandemic is an external power that is controlling our lives. 


Recommended Actions


We have a couple of suggestions for how you can use these concepts to your benefit. 

  • Recognize the changing nature of the feelings of control. Control is something we feel we have, even when we don’t. With control as a feeling, it makes it subject to change. It is essential to recognize this changing nature and the bias it creates and correct for it in your actions. 
  • Consider the Locus of Control in your experience design. It is crucial to determine whether your customers have an internal or external bias for Locus of Control and accommodate those feelings with a customized reaction. Developing a way to manage the side-effects of those biases can help improve the experience for people and encourage customer-driven growth. 
  • Determine your customers’ expectations for the Illusion and Locus of Control. Many times, customers want to feel in control. However, there are times when they want to surrender that control to your organization, particularly in safety situations. Your experience design should meet those expectations, or you could end up with an “area of conflict” with customers. 
  • If you are unfamiliar with customer expectations, do research. With so many things changing in recent months, you might not know what your customers expect. We recommend researching to find out, like our Emotional Signature Edge®. Uncovering these hidden, unmet expectations and needs is essential to designing an experience that facilitates customer-driven growth. 



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About Beyond Philosophy:

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.