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It’s Time to Be Rational About Your Irrationality

by Colin Shaw on February 9, 2018

You are irrational. Your friends are. Your manager is. I am, too. Unless you know a Vulcan, everyone you know is irrational. People are irrational by nature.

In my latest book, The Intuitive Customer: 7 imperatives for moving your Customer Experience to the next level my co-author Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University and I explore the influence of our emotions on our behavior as customers. The first imperative addresses our irrationality:

Imperative 1: Recognize that customers decide emotionally and justify rationally

Research has proven that over 50% of the Customer Experience involves emotions, at both conscious and subconscious levels. Feelings are also a considerable influence on our behavior.

Ever pounded your mouse on the desk, pressed the enter key extra hard, or tap-tap-tapped frantically on the “ESC” key when your technology hangs up? Me, too. We feel frustrated, scared, or stressed, and pounding/pressing/tap-tap-tapping feels satisfying, even though rational thinking dictates this behavior is not constructive—and usually makes it worse!

That is an excellent example of irrational behavior we exhibit in a non-consumer situation, but what about irrational behavior when we are customers? In our global Customer Experience Consultancy, we see irrational behavior by customers all the time. For instance, have you ever…

… bought something at a brick-and-mortar location, but reached behind the first product on the shelf because you wanted a package without all the other shoppers’ cooties on it?

… chose a store because it had a great selection, but then left without buying anything because you were overwhelmed by all the choices?

… gone to buy milk and then left with six or seven other items you saw at the store?

We all have because we are irrational by nature, especially as customers! We buy emotionally (“Look! Cookies. I want cookies; they taste good!”) and then justify rationally (“The cookies were on sale, so I bought them!”).

If you accept the first imperative and the fact that people are irrational and buy emotionally,  you are ready to take advantage of these concepts and take your Customer Experience to the next level. However, you don’t take advantage of your customers. Embracing this imperative and addressing the emotions in your Customer Experience elevates the experience for everybody.  Evoking the proper emotions that drive value for the customer and the organization’s bottom line everyone wins.

We are irrational. We need to recognize that as humans, our emotions have an enormous influence on what we do. They shape our thinking, influence our biases and help us make purchases. They also have us pawing through the shelves for clean packages at the store and snatching up cookies “because they were such a good deal!” In many ways, it is because of these emotions that we live long and prosper, much to the chagrin of our Vulcan friends.

To learn more about customers’ irrationality and how this and other critical psychological concepts affect our behavior as customers, watch a recording of our FREE, 60-minute webinar, “The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives for Moving Your CX to the Next Level,” To download, please click here.

Success Just Ahead (Rational Irrationality)

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

Are You Irrational?

Why Gut Decisions Are Sometimes Wrong

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 six bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on our new podcast and on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawIt’s Time to Be Rational About Your Irrationality