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Irrational Academy

Which of the following would you choose if you could? A fantastic holiday week or a fantastic week followed by two extra, relatively good holiday weeks (3 in total)?


The question may sound strange, as someone should be crazy to prefer only one week when it is possible to have three, without even sacrificing the quality of the first one. Yet, evidence from real experiments proves that you would most likely choose to live again an experience like the first choice.

Most of the times we are not aware of our preferences. The reality we perceive is dramatically affected by what we expect to experience, but also by the way our memory stores what we have experienced in the past. Imagine that we have two selves: an experiencing self and a remembering self. What we remember though, may sometimes be very different from what we have experienced.

This explains why we may carry good memories from moments of our life that were not the best. Have you ever heard army stories? There are full of positive emotions. However, I can assure you that very few soldiers serving at the moment, feel this way. But why does that happen?

Our brain stores data quite differently from a computer, following what is known in Behavioural economics as the Peak-end rule. It practically records the most extreme moments (positive or negative) and how we felt in the end. If there are no extreme moments and/or the end was not good, as in a movie, the score of the overall experience is recorded as low.

So, it is really worth paying a little more attention on the last touchpoint with your customers. There are hotels that give the possibility of check-out the previous night and provide complimentary breakfast on the day of departure, just to build the best possible memory.

Moreover, you should be careful when assessing customer experience through various touchpoints, since, apart from the fact that the importance of each touchpoint varies from person to person, shaping the overall customer experience is much more complex than the sum of its sub-steps. McKinsey’s survey with 27,000 customers across the globe estimated that measuring the overall experience is 30% more reliable than measuring the individual touchpoints.


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