General Show Notes:
Have you ever driven a long way to a vacation, perhaps with kids in the backseat, and heard the whining query, “are we there yet?” Have you ever wanted to ask that question yourself? It turns out there are good reasons for that. It’s called the Return Trip Effect, and we discuss it on this episode of The Intuitive Customer.
Assistant professor Zoey Chen from the University of Miami Business School published a paper with her colleague on the concept of the Return Trip Effect titled, “Are We There Yet?” Here are a few key takeaways from our discussion with her.
- The Return Trip Effect explains how the trip to an anticipated destination often feels like it takes longer than the trip back. Research narrowed it down to two reasons why it felt this way.
- When you go the first time, you see different landmarks for the first time that create time markers. The more time markers you create, the longer the trip feels. On the way back, you do not see them for the first time, so they might not be as notable, creating fewer time markers. The fewer the time markers, the faster the trip feels.
- Anticipatory feelings can contribute to how long the trip feels. When you want to be somewhere already, it seems like every second you are not there is an eternity. The return trip home usually does not carry the same anticipatory feelings.
- The Return Trip Effect demonstrates how outside influences can affect memories. In this case, feelings are making you remember how long it took to get somewhere. Whether or not it did take longer does not bear the same influence on memory.
- We know that most memories are subject to the Peak-End Rule, first introduced by Professor Daniel Kahneman. The Peak-End Rule says that what we remember about an experience is the most intense emotion we felt and how we felt at the end. However, memory sometimes begins before the event, in anticipation of it, which can be the peak emotion.
- The Sleeper Effect is a concept that your brain might overwrite a memory over time, replacing the experience with the anticipatory experience. This effect occurs because research shows that positive memories tend to outlast negative memories.
- People also remember the unique experience more. The first time makes a significant impression, but the second of third experience of the same thing does not.
- People also remember experiences with brands they feel are personally relevant, meaning brands that are part of their identity. For example, Apple is a brand I love and identify with, so I remember my experiences with them more.
- The information introduced after an experience, especially close to the conclusion of it while your feelings are still percolating and memories are forming, can change your perception of the experience. Additional information can improve your perception of an experience and also your memory of it.
There are seven actions you can take today to help you use what you know about how memories form to design into your Customer Experience a way to enhance customers’ memories about yours.
- Decide what type of memory you want people to have about your experience. Different strategies enhance different types, so knowing what memory you want customers to have will shape your enhancement strategy.
- Strive to make experiences unique. Are you finding ways to create a novel experience for your customers so they remember them more?
- Consider the post-experience. Have you provided additional information that will improve the experience in customers’ minds and thereby improving their memory of it?
- Remember that endings are essential. Have you designed a deliberate way to end the experience that evokes emotions like happiness and pleasure from customers?
- Balance building excitement with maintaining proper expectations. Be sure that you can deliver on any promises you make customers. Falling short sabotages your success in creating excellent memories of your experience.
- Design an experience that reinforces positive memories. People come back to you not for the experience they have with you but for the experience that they remember they had with you.
- Be deliberate. Don’t leave the memory formation up to chance; be specific and detailed about how you deliver your Customer Experience to create the type of memory that brings customers back for more.
To discuss this further contact us at www.BeyondPhilosophy.com
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.