Tag Archives: passion

i will give you blood and sweat and tears if you tell me why

25 Oct

emotion vs logic – why we buy

BMW or Skoda? French Connection or M&S? Chrome or IE?

These are not simply matters to be answered by reviewing the price, features, popularity and then making a rational decision. These decisions same something about who we are, even if we don’t know it.

A man test-drives an Audi, a BMW and a Mercedes Benz. He then buys the Merc. He was always going to buy the Merc, the other two test drives only allowed him to find issues with the other cars so he can engage in a spot of post-hoc rationalisation. I pointed that out to the man but he denied it and insisted he is a rationalist. Bollox, he is the archetypal Merc driver and has been ever since I have known him. I think he was miffed I pointed out how much time he wasted “pretending” to look at other makes. The BRAND created by Mercedes just fits with who he is.

a tale of two chickens

Marketing professor Raj Raghunathan  of the McCombs School of Business points to his research study that shows comparative features are important, but mostly as justification after a buyer makes a decision based on emotional response.

the case of the attractive chicken and the unattractive chicken

unattractive chickenatractive chickenIn one phase of their study, Raghunathan showed participants two photos. One was a nice looking, plump chicken. The other was a chicken that looked thin and sickly. Participants were told that the plump chicken was a natural chicken, and the thin chicken was genetically engineered.

The researchers informed half of the participants that natural chickens were healthy but less tasty, and genetically engineered chickens were tasty, but less healthy. The other half were told the opposite.

Overwhelmingly, sets of participants expressed a preference for the nice plump chicken, but their justifications were different. The first group claimed it was because they valued health above taste, and the second group said it was because taste was more important. Neither group seemed to justify their choice based on how they felt about the chicken’s looks. They felt compelled to justify their emotional choices with non-emotional reasons, to the point that the two groups found completely opposite ways to justify the same decision.

post-hoc rationalisation in marketing, politics, religion and life in general

Ragunathan said that the researchers tested the same hypothesis using political candidates. Participants were asked to rate the effectiveness of certain work styles displayed by two politicians. Not surprisingly, Republicans tended to value the work style used by the Republican politician, and Democrats valued the work style used by the Democrat. Like the chicken example, different groups were told opposite work styles for each candidate, but each group made their decision based on their pre-conceived political preference, and then justified their decision by whatever trait they had been told “their politician” used.

“This is called post-hoc rationalization,” said Ragunathan, “and it is found in every aspect of our life, whenever we made decisions. We are ruled by our emotions first, and then we build justifications for our response. You can see this happening in hiring decisions, dating, you name it.”

So next time you think you made a rational choice just remember you didn’t.

thanks to

Dave Wenger


the best service is no service

12 Oct

I spoke at Internet World (#IWEXPO) in London on the 29th April on my passion for customer service excellence. I stole the title of my brief talk from the book by Bill Price (click here to read review and buy the book) about his experience at Amazon. At Rackspace and itlab I have seen the use of NPS drive huge improvements in customer experience over time. Superior customer experiences are only possible with engaged employees and I mentioned some easy to emulate tips on engagement. Some of the financial models that show the bottom line value of having happy staff delivering world calls customer service get a mention – including the real world impact of NPS on growth from existing customers. In 1 example I discuss the introduction of some self service tools that have a huge impact on service and show how it is possible for all firms to emulate Amazon in quadrupling revenue without adding support head count or in the case of Pipex Hosting deliver better service with fewer staff. Finally I used itlab as a case study to show how this firm was transformed in a 2 year period from loss making also ran into a financially stable great place to work delivering awesome customer support.

view the video of the presentation

download the slides

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