REVEALED: Why You Are Forgetful

by Colin Shaw on February 4, 2016

A new study from Lund University reveals that our brains forget things on purpose. Essentially, the researchers discovered that our brains not only have learning mechanisms, but also forgetting mechanisms, and each is important to our thinking. This news is great for forgetful types! We thought it was because we were daft, but it turns out, forgetting is science, not stupidity.

The research group in Sweden found a mechanism at the cellular level that shows our brains are wired to forget “unnecessary” learning. Their findings were published in an international journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).  To summarize: when our brain has mastered a concept, there is a natural, built-in mechanism that tells the learning part of our brain to delete the unnecessary association pathways and step off, relax, and shut it.

To read more of the actual study, click here.

Customers do the same thing as the participants in the Swedish study. You can train them to behave a certain way at a moment in your experience, such as choosing the automatic option right at the beginning of the call center interaction or signing up for a automatic payments and estatements. Once they learn how to do it (or set it up), they forget why they learned it or even what is prompting them to do it. They just do it automatically and conserve energy associated with learning to do it that way.

The question is why is this necessary? It has to do with evolution. Our brain uses a lot of energy, and just like a car, there is only so much energy in the tank. In the days of our ancestors, it was harder to fill the tank (and dodge the T-Rex or saber-toothed tigers at the water hole). So to facilitate the propagation of the species, our brain evolved to find ways to conserve energy—and avoid that treacherous water hole as much as possible.

Of course, these days the T-Rex and Saber-toothed tigers are characters in kids’ movies instead of real threats. Plus, we can fill our tank pretty easily—sometimes at all you can eat buffets. However, we still have the mechanisms for conserving energy built into our highly evolved brains.

The idea that the brain conserves energy is one of the important concepts that is critical to understanding behavioral economics. Behavioral Economics is the study of how people’s behavior drives their economic decisions (and the related economic consequences because of these decisions for the larger market). It takes a close look at the emotional, psychological, and cognitive factors that influence our decision-making in buying situations.

And it should come as no surprise to anyone that our brain’s need to conserve energy plays an important role in economic decisions. Have you ever…

… perused the wine list and chose the second least expensive bottle because it’s not the cheapest?

… bothered to read the volume of the drinks before you chose the medium size automatically?

… paid more to have a certain brand of electronics just because it was that brand when other brands have the same (and sometimes better) performance?

Understanding the concepts put forth by Behavioral Economics is an important part of improving Customer Experiences. We all conserve energy on thinking when we can. And it’s natural, scientific even.

Unfortunately, researchers have yet to prove that everything we forget is scientific. So the fact that you don’t remember how to do a quadratic equation, the username or password to your long-abandoned DropBox account or your mother-in-law’s birthday is still only explained by foolishness. Unless you can make a case these are unnecessary learnings…a slippery slope on the last one, to say the least.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

3 Common Ways Customers Make Decisions

How You Feel is Not Unique to You

Why Men and Women Remember Things Differently

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX


Colin ShawREVEALED: Why You Are Forgetful

Changing Customer Behavior with a Little Nudge

by Colin Shaw on February 2, 2016

Do you nudge your customers?

Most businesses do, whether they know it or not. A nudge propels a customer toward the behavior you want – whether it’s purchasing a product, signing up for a subscription or making a repeat visit to a retailer. The theory behind a nudge is that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions can change people’s behavior at least as effectively as rules and instructions.

For example, at a restaurant the other night, a waitress came to my table and said, “Can I start you off with a glass of wine or an appetizer?” That was a nudge, encouraging me to order more food and drink. And I have to admit, it worked, and I thoroughly enjoyed my glass of merlot.

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that nudges have to be blatant. But obvious nudges can sometimes have the wrong effect. Have you ever left a retail store after a sales associate approached you for the third time to tell you about a special offer?

Researcher David Halpern says more subtle nudges can be hugely effective – but they must be the right kind of nudges. Effective nudges appeal to our instincts by making the desired behavior seem easier or more attractive. Or they use time pressure or social pressure. Halpern is the chief executive of the behavior insights team at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

In a recent talk, he demonstrated why certain types of nudges work better than others. It turns out that we’re good at complex intuitive tasks like catching a ball. But we’re not so hot at straightforward mathematical calculations, like figuring out how thick a piece of paper would become if you folded it repeatedly.

Put another way, we respond well to human interactions and intuition, but we have a much tougher time deciding whether it’s better to save $20 off a $100 purchase or 15 percent off a $50 purchase.

Getting Customers to Respond

How does this help you nudge customers toward the behavior you want?

Let’s look at customer interactions. Halpern cited a study of applicants at a job center. When the job center sent a text saying “you’ve been booked for an interview,” only 10 percent of recipients showed up. But when the text was personalized by addressing the applicant by name and having a person sign the text, the response rate increased. The texts with the best response rate – 27 percent – included both personalization and reciprocity: “Mathew, you’ve been booked for an interview. Good luck! David.”

What’s more, the people who received the personalized text felt better about the communication than those who didn’t.

Notice that the texts didn’t pressure the applicants or ask them to complete additional tasks. They merely reached out in a personal and encouraging way.

In a Customer Experience setting, a similar nudge could look like this: As you walk into a clothing store, a salesperson compliments you on your sweater. Then, as you pick up a shirt, she says, “Oh, I love that shirt. We just got them in last week and we’ve almost sold out of them.” In just two sentences she’s given you the message that you look good, you have good taste, and you’d better act fast if you want that shirt.

When we undertake designing a Customer Experience we look at these types of ‘nudges’ through the subconscious and psychological experience. We use a tool called Behavioral Journey Mapping.

Can You Nudge People to Pay?

Another of Halpern’s examples shows how a nudge can help with collections and payment issues.

Researchers found that when people received a letter reminding them to pay their taxes on time, only a third of them actually sent in a check. But researchers were able to increase the payment rate by exerting subtle social pressure. While it helped to point out that most people paid their taxes on time, they got the highest response rate by giving recipients the impression that they were among the few in their immediate area who hadn’t paid.

The research suggests that businesses might reduce their collections issues by sending letters like this:  “We value our relationships with customers like you, and that’s why we don’t want you to be one of the very few that we’ve had to send to a collections agency.” Of course, some people won’t pay no matter what, but it takes little effort to add a subtle nudge and it could reap big rewards.

Or consider using social pressure to steer customers toward a larger purchase or a faster payment method. “The Gold Package is our most popular” or “Most of your neighbors use our quick and easy credit card payment system.”

By suggesting that we’re special, or that time is running out, or that everybody else is doing it, we give customers just the nudge they need to pull out their credit cards.

Have you ever nudged your customers ? Did it work? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Customer Emotions are Predictable

3 Common Ways Customers Make Decisions

Using the Subconscious Cues To Drive Customer Behavior Works

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawChanging Customer Behavior with a Little Nudge

Big CX Idea for 2016: Not Despite but Because

by Colin Shaw on January 28, 2016

More often these days we get calls at our headquarters with Customer Experience champions wondering what happened to the huge gains in their Customer Experience metrics they used to get. The problem is many of them have implemented Customer Experience measures, had great improvements to metrics like their Net Promoter Scores, and then watched the score plateau.

They are scratching their heads now, wondering what’s next?

The answer is simple: What’s next is the next level of Customer Experience improvement. How to implement this next level, however, is not as simple. But it is possible and requires a new way of thinking about it.

Gretchen Rubin, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Happiness Project(and fellow LinkedIn Influencer), wrote an article, “The Positive Perspective: Replacing ‘Despite’ with ‘Because’.” She describes how substituting the word “despite” with the word “because” is the key to changing how she sees an issue. One of the examples she gave is how she was puzzled why people who trained for and ran a marathon quit running. When she changed these words around, however, she saw the difference between the two statements and it helped her change her thinking, e.g.:

Despite the fact that they successfully ran the marathon, these runners quit running.

Because of the fact they successfully ran the marathon, these runners quit running.

See the difference there?

This same framing can work in Customer Experience quandaries as well. Let me explain. When these calls from Customer Experience champions come in, we hear them say:

Despite the fact we improved the Customer Experience, our Customer Experience metrics have now levelled off.

So what happens when we switch the word “despite” with “because?”

Because of the fact we improved Customer Experience, our Customer Experience metrics have now levelled off.

See the difference there?

The first statement doesn’t solve your problem; it only states it. But the second statement presents the problem as the solution and opens your mind to the possibilities of why improving the Customer Experience has now resulted in the stagnating growth of your metrics. It’s just one word that’s different, but the meaning and its relevant implications transform.

What the second statement tells me is this: the easiest improvements have been made. The gains associated with those easy improvements have also been made. Now, to move the needle, you must move your Customer Experience to the next level. Now, it’s time to dig into the deeper concepts—the rational, emotional, subconscious and psychological reasons behind why Customers do what they do. And then, design moments in your experience that play into these natural instincts.

All the greatest organizations that champion Customer Experience know this and continue to explore the possibilities. It’s why Amazon continues to dazzle us with what’s possible for Customer Experience. It’s why Apple continues to reign supreme in both products and stock price. It’s why Disney makes you wonder if they really do have a little magic working on their side. They are always improving their experiences, moving them to the next level and leaving their competitors behind.

The fact is improving your Customer experience is a journey not a destination. Will you sit there scratching your head about your Customer Experience using the word despite? Or get back on the road to move it to the next level after switching to because?

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Are You Making Excuses for a Bad Experience?

Are You Being Disruptive?

When it comes to Customer Experience, You Have to Keep Rolling the DICE

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawBig CX Idea for 2016: Not Despite but Because

Being Customer Centric Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

by Colin Shaw on January 26, 2016

In this series, professionals describe the skills they’re building this year. Read the stories here, then write your own (use #SkillsGap in the body of your post).

There is a major skill most organizations lack: Customer centricity. But if you want to remain competitive in today’s economic climate, putting the focus on Customers is imperative to your bottom line.

It was 20 years ago when the realization that I wasn’t Customer centric hit me. Why did I realize this? Because of the three following reasons:

  • I operated from a mindset of what was good for the company and ignored the impact on Customers.
  • I worried about our internal the processes rather than the experience we gave Customers.
  • I concerned myself with internal costs at the expense of Customer Experience.

You might be thinking, “That’s just good business.” And in some circles, you would be considered right — especially 20 years ago. Some organizations, most of them in fact, would say that those three reasons I gave are excellent qualities in a senior-level executive at a major telecom company.

But these are not the qualities of a Customer-centric organization. And 20-year-old thinking isn’t going to cut it in today’s competitive environment.

Customer centricity means that everything your organization does is centered around what is good for the Customer AND the organization. It means that your process, your policies, your channels, and your offer (and every other part of your business) are designed to deliver what is best for the Customer as you know this will result in more profits ($).

If this is not how your company works, then you aren’t Customer centric. Furthermore, how you are as an organization dictates the Customer Experience you will deliver. So, if you aren’t a Customer-centric organization, you won’t deliver a Customer-centric experience.

If you aren’t one of these types of organizations, it’s OK. I wasn’t either at one time. But you can change, and here’s how:

How to Be More Customer Centric

Operate with Customer in mind. Customer-centric organizations design their operations to provide what’s good for the Customer, not the company. In the best situations, you can design operations that work for both, but if a choice must be made, it’s imperative that you choose the option that favors what’s good for the Customer. If this means you offer free (and easy) returns for your online orders even if it’s expensive for you, then so be it.  If it means you hire call center employees and pay them more so they have the right mindset to serve others, then you do that — even though cheaper labor is available. The only caveat to this is ultimately what you do must provide a return ($) for the company. These actions may not provide a return on that particular experience, but the return comes because Customers spend more, stay with you longer, etc., overall.

Consider the experience, not the process. Our new clients often present us with detailed journey maps of their system. They are always disappointed when I say it only shows the process, not the experience. The experience includes the emotional responses the moments throughout your experience create. We call it the Emotional Signature®, and every organization has one. To get an idea of what yours is, it requires walking the steps of the process as if you were a Customer, and experience it as they do. We call it a Customer Mirror.  This video will explain what kind of insights this outside-in approach can yield:

Internal costs for Customer Experience are worth the expense. We have implemented many Customer Experience programs. All of them have saved money. Why? Poor service costs money. Costs are only costs when you don’t get them back. Costs become investments when they yield higher profits. Most non Customer-centric companies balk at the idea of spending more money to improve the emotional moments of the experience. But Customer-centric companies know that the money they invest in these areas pays off in Customer loyalty and retention, both of which add value to your bottom line. We even have the research to prove it.

We developed an assessment to measure how Customer centric a company is, called Naive to Natural.

The least Customer-centric companies are Naive and the most Customer centric are Natural. It is quite possible that your company is Naive in some ways but Natural in others (or Tansactional or Enlightened). We use this assessment with our clients to help them see where they are doing well as far as making Customer-focused decisions with their experience, and also where they need some work!

Most organizations think they are Customer centric, but they are wrong. Customer centricity is an attitude, a state of mind. It requires a different way of looking at your business and using this new way of looking at business as the basis for your operations. From the way you handle the order to Customer support to how you incent your teams’ performance, the Customer is the focus.



Where is YOUR company’s focus?

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Why Most Customer Experience Programs Fail

Are you Inside-out or Outside-in?

3 Ways to Tell if Your Customer Relationship is All About You

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawBeing Customer Centric Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

One Skill Every Customer Facing Team Member Must Know

by Colin Shaw on January 21, 2016

Customer Loyalty is a gold standard for most businesses. There are numerous ways that you earn (and lose) Customer Loyalty. But one way that anyone can do is one of the most effective ways to create a Customer Experience that keeps them coming back for more.

Pivoting is a technique well-known by the Public Relations industry. It means changing the direction of the conversation to get back to your core message. When it happens in the media, it’s typically when the person on the spot is confronted by an embarrassing issue. An example can be found from a great article on this topic in – how a dirty politician can turn a question around to avoid telling the truth or talking about an issue.

When you are in a Customer-facing situation, it’s important to use this technique to handle problems. Let me be clear, however, I am not suggesting you pivot to avoid answering a Customer’s questions or evade telling the truth. But I am suggesting the pivoting technique can prove useful when managing a Customer Experience.

My suggestion is that your pivoting technique for problem resolution in the Customer Experience has two steps:

  •  Step One: Acknowledgment. Make sure you repeat back to the     Customer what you understand the problem to be.
  •  Step Two: Core Message. This step is your opportunity to remind the Customer what your desired emotional outcome will be for their experience.

For the holidays, I made good use of my Amazon Prime membership. However, one of my orders had issues with my payment method. So I scheduled online to have Customer Service call me back (a great feature, by the way).

The first thing I noticed was that my Customer Service Representative was not from the States (or if he was, he was working on perfecting an accent for an acting role).

This call wasn’t my first about this order, and as the holidays were closing in, I was starting to feel nervous and frustrated the issue wasn’t resolved. However, as a former call center manager and Customer Experience champion, I always behave my best on calls of this nature, so I work to be both patient and pleasant for the representative who gets me on the line.

Despite my best efforts, I must have let a couple of sarcastic quips slip through that belied my true feelings. The call center agent picked up on this and kept saying: “Even though your voice is smiling, I can tell you are feeling frustrated. I don’t want you to feel even more frustrated about this. I want you to know we will do everything in our power to resolve your issue to your satisfaction.”

Now, let me first say that I appreciated that he was concerned about my emotional state. Gold star for that one! However, I thought it was amusing to have this exact phrase repeated three additional time verbatim throughout our call. (I chalked it up to the language barrier.)

Clunky execution or not, it was a great example of pivoting. What my call center rep was telling me is that he knows I am having a problem (acknowledgment) but that he was going to resolve it (core message). I appreciated his understanding of this important issue and it did alleviate some of my testier feelings at the time.

Pivoting is a technique that has been used in Public Relations for a long time. It not only keeps you out of hot water on tough issues in the media, but it also gives you a chance to repeat your core message for the audience. In Customer Experience, it’s an audience of one but pivoting can have a great effect on the experience that audience member has. And can foster the emotional reinforcement you want to earn the Customer Loyalty you need.

What do you think? Is pivoting a great technique for Customer Experience or PR mumbo-jumbo better left to the dirty politicians? Feel free to share your insight in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Are You Making Excuses for a Bad Experience?

Are You Being Disruptive?

When it comes to Customer Experience, You Have to Keep Rolling the DICE

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawOne Skill Every Customer Facing Team Member Must Know

8 Worst Mistakes You Don’t Want to repeat!

by Colin Shaw on January 19, 2016

Ever blown it with a Customer? Sure. We all have. Mistakes are part of being human, after all. But hopefully, you learned from it, made your sincere apology,and carried on.

Here are 8 big mistakes with Customer Experience that we hope brands learned from:

    1. “It’s not the pants, it’s your body type” excuse from Lululemon.Remember when the CEO of Lululemon Chip Wilson said the reason that their pants weren’t wearing well was because the pants weren’t made for all women’s bodies—particularly those whose thighs touched (which is most women, by the way)?


    1. Jetstar Airways flight attendant asked female passenger how many weeks along she was—and she wasn’t pregnant! The flight attendant on Jetstar Airways, an Australian budget airline, asked the woman how many weeks she was gesturing at her midsection. Like many airlines, they have a policy that women after 28 weeks must turn over a doctor’s note that they are okay to fly. When she replied she wasn’t expecting, the male flight attendant did not apologize. In her post on the airline’s site, she wrote, “I used to be quite heavily overweight and even then was never met by such a rude question and especially no remorse from the flight attendant.” The airline later sent a flight voucher to apologize for the incident.


    1. VW lied about their cars’ fuel efficiency. Last year, Volkswagen was caught in a lie about the fuel-efficiency of their CleanDiesel line of cars. They had programmed the emission control feature to kick in only during the emissions test. Their stock lost 30% in the first 24 hours after the discovery, faced fines of up to $18 billion, class actions lawsuits, and were subject to a criminal investigation in the U.S. The CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized and then resigned.


    1. Ryanair CEO says he charges passengers for “being so stupid.”Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair said that customers complaining about the boarding pass fee should “pay 60 Euros for being so stupid”?


    1. Comcast guy took a nap on Customer’s couch and son’s pillow during a service call. According to the YouTube Video, the family found the tech asleep on the couch in their entertainment room, using their son’s pillow for his head. He was roused, where it appeared he would get to work. But then they found him asleep again! When they woke him the second time, he was angry, left, and then sat in front of their house for about a half an hour on his phone. Comcast apologized for the incident and freed up the employee’s time to take as many naps on his own couch or at the unemployment office. The family changed cable companies and is now much happier with their service!


    1. Bank of America planned to charge Customers a $5 debit card fee right after taxpayers bailed them out of insolvency. Back in 2011, right after the huge bailout American taxpayers gave Bank of America (B of A) and other large financial institutions deemed “too big to fail”, the bank announced they would charge a $5 monthly fee for debit cards. Customers threw all their toys out of the crib about it, pledging to move their money out of the big bank. B of A quickly backpedaled and dropped the fee, but the PR damage was done.


    1. The Union Street Guest House fines couples because their guests gave the hotel a bad review.The hotel in Hudson, NY, deducted $500 for every bad review posted on social media after the event from the couple’s deposit, with the chance to have it refunded if the review is removed. After the story started to gain steam, the owner “claimed” it was only a joke and had never been charged. But more than one former customer and guest of theirs said they were charged the fee.


  1. United Airlines claims no responsibility for broken guitar despite eye witness accounts of baggage handlers tossing passenger’s guitar into the plane. This is one of my favorites. The video says it all:

Sometimes mistakes are resolved. Those are the good times. But they aren’t always, and sometimes it’s because the company didn’t respond appropriately. VW is still suffering the damages of their dishonesty. And the Union Street Guest House has one and a half stars on Yelp! at the time of publishing.

Mistakes happen. The important thing to do is to respond appropriately, empathetically, and quickly when they do to prevent the fallout. As you can see by my examples, they happen all the time. And then the stories go viral or become the subject of  well-produced and highly entertaining country song on YouTube.

What stories did I leave out? I’d love to hear your examples in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

6 Steps to a Great Apology

Union Street Guest House Commits the Worst Social Media Blunder Ever!

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly in Customer Experience Lately

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin Shaw8 Worst Mistakes You Don’t Want to repeat!

Fiat Chrysler: The Latest Car Brand to Wreck Consumer Trust

by Colin Shaw on January 14, 2016

Isn’t it a company’s first priority not to harm their Customers? I maybe old fashioned but surely ensuring your Customers’ safety is your BIGGEST responsibility as a brand.

Apparently, someone should have reminded Fiat Chrysler.

Fiat Chrysler was fined $70 Million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Why? Failing to report fatalities, injuries, and warranty repairs. But what’s worse, this isn’t the first fine related to safety regulations. They were fined $105 million in civil penalties because of “lagging efforts to address safety defects.”

The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, explained that it is the manufacturer’s obligation (by federal law) to report warnings about safety issues. The fines issued are enforcing this law, part of a nationwide crackdown on automakers. Fiat Chrysler is in the headlines now, but Honda and Ferrari were fined by the NHTSA earlier this year. And I probably don’t need to remind you about VW. They are still making headlines with their egregious breach of ethics and Customer trust.

In Brands We Trust—Until They Disappoint Us!

Each one of these car companies is a well-known brand. As well known car brands, each of us has thoughts and feelings about them. For example, when I say BMW, I think high-end, expensive sports cars, right? You might even remember their tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”  And when I say Toyota, you likely think reliable and affordable Japanese cars that run forever.

But when a brand lies to Customers, those thoughts and feelings change, don’t they? Before CleanDiesel Gate, you likely would have thought of VW as an affordable and reliable car brand proud of its German Engineering! Once you heard they lied about the emissions on tests however, you probably have a different association with the brand today.

We as consumers love brands. They make choosing a product easier. When you like a brand, you are more likely to buy more of it and more of their other products. Many of you know I like Apple. But if I found out that they didn’t tell me that the screen caused blindness*, I would be disappointed (and probably blind, too). And disappointment is not an emotion that leads to good things for Apple’s sales.

We did research with the London Business School for our Emotional Signature tool a few years ago to prove that emotions lead to more sales for organizations. We learned that there are 20 emotions that drive or destroy value ($$$$) for your organization. Here they are:

Hierarchy of Emotional Value

Do you see where disappointment is? At the bottom! Next to unhappy, stressed, and frustrated. Fiat Chrysler’s Customers are likely hanging out down here, feeling more of the emotions on this list than most of us want to imagine.

Jeff Bezos is widely credited with saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” When you lie about your emissions performance or fail to disclose safety problems to your Customers, what do you think people are saying when you aren’t in the room?

I would tell you, but it’s saltier language than I like to use in my posts.

*They don’t.                  

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Losing Customers’ Trust is the Worst Penalty VW Will Face

Target and Snapchat: The Power of Customer 

4 Ways to Gain Customer’s Trust in Data Security

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawFiat Chrysler: The Latest Car Brand to Wreck Consumer Trust

10 Best Career Advice Blogs of 2015 – In case you missed them

by Colin Shaw on January 12, 2016

As 2015 fades into history and 2016 starts, why not take a minute to peruse some of the most popular posts on career advice that can prepare you for a fabulous 2016, in reverse order….

My Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2015

#10: The First 90 Days.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, or to relive your first 90 days at your organization. This list can serve as a great guideline of dos and don’ts for your new job. (My favorite is Number 9 on the Dos list.)

#9: Airways Fattist Policy is NOT about Safety

Be careful about policies you issue that are focused on the organization and not on the Customer. Uzbekistan Airways decided to weigh customers before boarding their flights for “safety reasons.” But it is neither about safety nor is it reasonable.

#8: Losing Customers’ Trust is the Worst Penalty VW Will Face

I am always surprised when a major brand is caught in a bold-faced lie. It seems obvious to most of us, but bears repeating: Lying to your Customers is bad business. After the fines are paid, your organization will face an even harsher penalty, the loss of Customers’ trust.

#7: Why Men & Women Remember Things Differently

Studies show that men and women have different ways of processing emotions. This fact means they remember things differently. For anyone who has been on either side of an argument with the opposite sex where the facts of an event have been in question, science proves that you are right, and he/she is wrong. You’re welcome.

#6: Creating Successful Relationships

Relationships in business are everything. From a new boss to a new Customer, how you establish the relationship has long-term consequences on the health of the relationship. Clarity and detail are important to start them off right. I offer eight established tips to get you started out right. I learned #2 and #8 from my mum.

#5: Amazon’s Destructive Culture Exposed—or Not?

When The New York Times posted an article about Amazon’s destructive work culture, I questioned whether this was possible. I still do. The main thing to remember is that broken cultures do not produce a Customer Experience as fantastic as Amazon’s, so be careful about believing everything you read.

#4: How to Get People to Do What You Want

These two studies show us how to get people to do what you want, a helpful skill for any business person.

#3: Check Before You Accept the Offer

Feeling like a valued and engaged employee isn’t just the employer’s job. It’s important that the employee takes a close look at the culture and policies of a job before agreeing to become a part of the team.  The one I always tell my kids is number three.

#2: Time to Leave Corporate Life

Corporate life has its pros and its cons. So too does working for oneself.  I can’t say what is right for you, but I can share my experience and hope it helps you make this important and life-changing decision for yourself.

#1: You Must Do This At Your Interview

Sometimes it is the most insignificant seeming parts of your job that make the biggest impression. don’t miss this one!

I’d like to take a second to wish a Happy New Year to all my readers. May 2016 be an excellent year for you!

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

You Must Do This at Your Job Interview

Time to Leave Corporate Life

Check Before You Accept the Offer

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX


Colin Shaw10 Best Career Advice Blogs of 2015 – In case you missed them

Embrace New Ways of Thinking in 2016

by Colin Shaw on January 7, 2016

We have had a significant increase in the number of organizations contacting us for help with their Customer Experience program. Their program has plateaued and now they don’t know what to do. In many cases the initial focus on Customer Experience and new customer measures, like Net Promoter, delivered some improvements but they have been short-lived.

We Need New Thinking

Why are the results short-lived? They are using old thinking to tackle new problems. The issue is not with the organization’s desire to improve but instead with the team’s understanding of the underlying concepts that influence a Customer Experience.

My Prediction

Results will continue to plateau as long as people only look at the rational parts (Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement) of a Customer Experience .

My Advice

You need new thinking to address the needs of your Customer Experience!

Emotions Will Be Accepted, Finally!

More organizations have embraced the emotional side of the Customer Experience. This is gratifying for me because when I wrote about emotions for Building Great Customer Experiences back in 2002, everybody acted like I was mad. Thirteen years is a long time to be considered a madman!

However, the Customer Experience movement has advanced. Whilst emotions are important and account for over 50% of a Customer Experience, understanding how to stimulate and evoke emotions at the subconscious and psychological level is the latest thought leadership in our field.

My Prediction 

In 2016, some organizations will focus on the superficial emotional side and will fall further behind more advanced organizations examining the deeper subconscious and psychological emotional influences in Customer Experience.

My Advice

Embrace the deeper influences of emotional aspects of the Customer Experience, not the superficial ones.

Behavioral Economics Meets Customer Experience

There is a new phrase in my field: Behavioral Economics, or how human behavior affects economics, i.e. money. Understanding how customer behavior affects revenue, market share, retention, acquisition, etc., is essential. I have written a new book along with Professor Ryan Hamilton, Consumer Psychology, Emory University (coming out in May 2016) where we outline seven imperatives any organization must undertake to improve the Customer Experience. Register now and we will let you know when the book will arrive.

My Prediction

In 2016, more organizations will now embrace the subconscious and psychological experience, thus embracing Behavioral Economics.

My Advice

In 2016, it is vital to educate your Customer Experience professionals about these deeper influences explained by Behavioral Economic concepts, and then subsequently other people in your organization, if you’re not to fall behind in future years.

Predictive Analytics Are Key

Understanding customers’ behavior using detailed understanding of the emotional, subconscious, and psychological aspects of the experience allows you to predict how customers will behave in the future. Big data can be used to research past behavior. However, the data must include the emotional influences as well to be accurate, at least for predicting how a Customer Experience can influence future behavior.

My prediction

Predictive analytics are key to improving Customer Experience in 2016.

My Advice

Look at your big data from an emotional perspective, identify the psychological aspects that are driving customer behavior, and use this to predict their future behavior. Then, build a Customer Experience model that uses these predictions to your benefit.

Employee Engagement and Customer Experience

We see the growth of employee engagement programs. This movement is great because happy people give you happy customers. However, employee engagement programs often run separately to the Customer Experience program. This approach is wrong!

My Prediction

One of the key outputs of any employee engagement program is an improvement in the Customer Experience.

My Advice

Merge your employee engagement and customer experience program together. Identify what drives and destroys value for your employees experience.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of things is essentially everything connected to the Internet. For example, a restaurant chair can have an Internet-connected chip placed in it that can tell when it is occupied (and even who is occupying it!). Your Internet-connected Fitbit device allows your insurance company to track how much exercise you get and therefore alter your Insurance policy rates based upon your activity.

My prediction

The Internet of things is going to have as big an impact upon our daily lives as the introduction of the Internet itself did.

My Advice

Whilst in 2016 the applications will be limited, get your head around where this is going.

It is a new year. Why not adopt a new way of thinking about Customer Experience to go with it? It’s undeniable that the emotional aspects of your experience have a
significant influence on your success. Understanding why this is and how to use this information to your advantage is the new thinking needed to keep up with Customer Experience discoveries.  I predict that the Customer Experience movement will continue to evolve. My advice is that you evolve with it – or be left behind with last year’s results.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:


Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawEmbrace New Ways of Thinking in 2016

Moving Your Social Media to the Next Level

by Colin Shaw on December 23, 2015

Social media is a psychological bid to get your attention. Getting it can be tough, but when you know how people make decisions and how that affects their behavior on social media, getting people’s attention gets much easier.

And in nearly every situation the answer to what is driving behavior is emotions. had an interesting blog post that addressed these emotional responses. In it author and neuroscientist Andrew Tate gives six situations where the content will evoke an emotional response that is favorable to your content, whether that favorable behavior meant views, shares, or likes. As a quick summary of the post they were:

  1. Asking a person to do a favor makes them like you more because they assume you are the type of person that’s worth a favor.
  2. We want guidance to know what is right or wrong, so we look at the number of responses to give us a gauge of “public” opinion. People like to be part of a crowd and are less comfortable being the first to respond.
  3. Fear or discomfort is an excellent motivator for people; use headlines or content that play to these two emotions to get more views, likes or shares.
  4. Posts that appeal to emotions capture the attention of more people than posts that appeal to rationality.
  5. Create urgency with your posts because no one wants to “miss out” on something—even if they didn’t want or need it in the first place.
  6. Confidence attracts an audience. Be assertive with your ideas.

With emotions running the show, then it must mean that social media should show an endless stream of soldiers returning home from duty to surprise a loved one or a lioness tending to an orphaned baby pig? Nope. Too much of any one emotion is…well, too much. (Although I wouldn’t mind those soldier videos. They get me every time!)

What it does mean is you have to consider how emotional responses to phrases or situations can create a response in your audience, and then use this to create a social media strategy that plays to those responses.

The methods you use to get likes for your content on social media from your audience are almost identical like getting your Customers to behave the way you want when they interact with you (i.e. to spend more money on your good and services). Like with social media engagement, you have to understand that emotions drive Customers’ behavior. Then you design an experience that evokes the emotions in your Customer Experience that drive the most value for your bottom line.

Our Emotional Signature® concept addresses the emotions in your Customer Experience.  We undertook two years of research with the London Business School before launching this for our clients. When we came up with the database for the Emotional Signature, we identified 20 emotions that drive or destroy value for organizations. They are: 

In our Customer Mirrors exercise, we help organizations see their experience from the perspective of the Customer. We find that many organizations recognize many moments in their interaction with Customers where they can evoke an emotional response that creates Customer Loyalty and Retention.

The 20 emotions here and something similar to the Customer Mirrors exercise can give you important information about your social media strategy, too. In many instances, you can use these same approaches to amplify your social media engagement.

Humans are driven by emotions. It’s true whether they are buying cosmetics, cars or computers, or liking your post on a feed. When it comes to social media, it is important to understand the psychology behind human behavior. Once you accept emotions are running the show, you can appeal to your audience’s emotions to create a better buzz, get more comments, or even the gold standard (and most elusive) of social media, “Go viral!”

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

How to Get People to Do What You Want

3 Ways to Improve Your Training to the Next Level

Science Proves What Really Makes People Happy

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawMoving Your Social Media to the Next Level