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

Aug 22, 2020

THIS is the Big Reason You Make Mistakes

We make a lot of subjective decisions. Without the guide of "right" and "wrong" to direct us, we weigh the pros and cons and do the best we can. However, our brains can thwart our best efforts for an optimal outcome by focusing on the wrong things. 

Focalism is a concept that describes how our minds can overemphasize specific points of information over others, and often the wrong ones. Focalism is a reason we often make mistakes. This episode of The Intuitive Customer explores Focalism, why it happens, and what you can do to overcome this natural bias we all share. 

Key Takeaways 

There are a few things you should know about Focalism:

Objects of Focalism in a Customer Experience tend to be notable, easy-to-remember moments that make for good stories. For instance, if you're evaluating your customer experience and someone was rude to you in a way that makes for a good story, you might overemphasize this moment in your whole evaluation of the experience. 

When it comes to overemphasizing the wrong things, the person making the decision is who puts the weights on those decisions. However, people are influenced by what's going on around them. For example, if your sales team emphasizes miles per gallon fuel efficiency for a car, then the customer might also. However, the customer could also react by exaggerating the importance of another feature in response.

People are not as happy with decisions made using Focalism long-term. A study in the 1970s showed that student participants who justified why they chose a poster for their dorm room didn't keep it hanging as long as those students who chose the one they liked best without justification. 

We make the best decisions by integrating the information. One way of doing that is by allowing the Intuitive System (fast, automatic thinking) more time while the Rational System (slow, deliberate thinking) is distracted to process information. 

Recommended Actions

We have a few recommended actions that you can use to manage Focalism in yourself and your customers:

  1. If you want to make the best decision as a customer, we recommend that you do something else before making it. Focus on something else for a while, and then come back to the decision and see if you have a different perspective.
  2. If you manage the experience for your organization, it would be best to look for these attributes that will become the overemphasized focuses of a customer's evaluation later and improve those aspects of the experience. These will be the easy-to-remember moments of an experience. 
  3. We recommend that you have an A/B test regarding how changes to the experience affect your customer behavior. Have a control group carry on doing what you have always done and another group where you change something, whether it's a suggested or mandatory "waiting period" before they sign up with you or a distracting activity before you push for the close, or something in-between. Then, analyze the results to see which process or experience drove the most value for your customers and your bottom-line. 
  4. Remember also that Customer Experience has many influences that affect the outcome. Focalism is one of many forces at work at any given moment, so solving it will not necessarily fix all your problems or drive all your success. This part is one of a much more complex system, and it is better to integrate all of that information than solve for the one piece. We recommend additional training on Customer Decision Making to help you identify and manage all the moving parts involved.

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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.