Behavioural Economics – or why it makes more sense to design products which conform to human nature. People are extraordinary beings. They act according to their own rules and sometimes this behaviour doesn’t appear at first to be logical, it even seems to be quite irrational. This is particularly true when it comes to products and services, oh dear, we could write a book about it (and others have!). We try to understand what customers want. We actively ask them what they’d like from a product and try to fulfil these wishes as best we can.

Human beings are predictably irrational.

And nonetheless, even though we’ve implemented everything just like the customers said, the product still doesn’t have the demand that is expected. How can that be? At the end of the day we’ve done everything right and implemented everything just as the customer said. And then he doesn’t buy it after all. Where did we go wrong?

Essentially nowhere. But people have difficulties estimating what they want in the future and what this should look like. Too many factors influence the ultimate behaviour, that the customer can’t impartially foresee these in advance.

But does that mean that it doesn’t make any sense to ask your customers anything? Now on the face of it it could appear that way. Big business people, such as Steve Jobs  or Jeff Bezos, have frequently said that they believe that it doesn’t make any sense at all asking the customer what he or she wants. I’d agree with them both too completely. It’s not about the customer telling us what he / she exactly wants. That would be asking too much.

That doesn’t mean though that we shouldn’t ask our customers for their opinion about products and services.

“It’s about knowing what’s really behind their statements and what this means for realising products and services.”

But to know what relevant importance lies in the words of the customers you need to have an actual picture about how people work. Behavioural Economics reflects this picture of people exactly, with all its irrationalities, in a simple and well operationalised manner.

Customer behaviour counts for more than customer opinion

Why focus on customer behaviour and not on their attitudes and opinions? Now, the benefit is obvious. It’s about finding out at what point the customer behaves differently and what leads to it. These are the points that we need to activate and should – these are the ones really relevant for the customers.

With all its complexity of what constitutes how people experience things, there are still predictable patterns about how we behave in certain situations. When you know these patterns, you can actively work with them and stimulate behaviour (or weaken them), and thereby optimise products and services for your customers.

Behavioural Economics = Make it Matter.

We want to help our customers there where all things considered a change can essentially be achieved. And it’s not even necessary to emerge in the complicated consumer psyche to be the ultimate “customer whisperer”.

With simple behavioural economics principles, it is possible for everybody to look behind the scenes of customer behaviour and to actively recognise the whereabouts of products’ success or failure. Ideally, you should start integrating behavioural success strategies when new products are developed and create need-led products for your customers from the very beginning.

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