You might be surprised to learn that when golf courses make less revenue, Disney World’s attendance goes up. You might also find it weird that Mississippi’s marriage rate correlates 99.3% with the US per capita consumption of whole milk. Perhaps most shocking is the fact that more people die of fire, smoke, and flames in years when Nick Cage is in fewer movies.
All of these are 100 percent true. Why do you think that is? If you just tried to think of the answer, congratulations! You are human. Also, don’t worry about it. While each of these things is true, they are called a Spurious Correlation, which describes two parallel and completely unrelated statistics.
This episode discusses how your brain encounters something like a Spurious Correlation, and it tries to make sense of them, even when there is no sense to make. We see this kind of behavior in many different areas, including big data, pictures from Mars, and even your customer behavior analysis. Could you see something in the numbers that isn’t there?
Key Ideas to Improve your Customer Experience
Spurious Correlations are statistics that are closely parallel, but there is no relation between them. We often see correlations in customer behavior statistics. Usually, you can explain why you know what you see, so you fix it. However, what happens if you are wrong about what you saw? We discuss what you can do about this problem before it ends up causing you more significant issues in your Customer Experience.
Here are some key moments in the discussion:
- 04:11 Ryan explains what a spurious correlation is and how it relates to Customer Experience.
- 07:28 Ryan tells us what our brains do when we see a correlated statistic, even when there is not an obvious connection
- 09:17 We share what Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman says about this phenomenon.
- 14:17 Colin shares why we evolved to seek patterns in data we receive about the world around us.
- 17:16 We talk about Professor Gary Smith’s article on Spurious Correlations in Big Data and what dangers that portends for Customer Experience analysis.
- 19:51 Ryan explains how the peer review process keeps scientists from making their opinions their conclusions.
- 28:40 We share three actionable things you can do to avoid making this mistake with your analysis of customer behavior.
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Customer Experience Information & Resources
LinkedIn recognizes Colin Shaw as one of the ‘World’s Top 150 Business Influencers.’ As a result, he has 289,000 followers of his work. Shaw is Founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy LLC, which helps organizations unlock growth by discovering customers’ hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($). The Financial Times selected Beyond Philosophy LLC as one of the best management consultancies for the last two years. Follow Colin on Linkedin and Twitter.
Click here to learn more about Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University.
Why Customers Buy: As an official “Influencer” on LinkedIn, Colin writes a regular newsletter on all things Customer Experience. Click here to join the other 22,000 subscribers.
Experience Health Check: You already have an experience, even if you weren’t deliberate about it. Our Experience Health Check can help you understand what you have today. Colin or one of our team can assess your digital or physical Customer Experience, interacting with your organization as a customer to define what is good and what needs improving. Then, they will provide a list of recommendations for critical next steps for your organization. Click here to learn more.
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