Sorry 80s babies, we’re not talking about the game (but FYI it’s always Professor Plum with the candlestick).
We’re talking about a key takeaway from a session we had with Suzie Goan this week, former Principal at Experience Engineering. The firm helps companies transform customer experiences, mostly as they relate to the physical environment and customer interactions. According to Suzie, a big part of managing a customer experience is managing their experience clues.
What are those? Glad you asked. Experience clues are things a customer perceives about a brand experience–consciously or unconsciously–that form her impressions of that brand. Per Suzie’s real-life example, when she checked into a hotel and was greeted with a free breakfast note on her pillow, her clue was that she was in a warm and inviting place. When she checked into a different hotel and was met with a note telling her to secure valuables in a lockbox and call police if she noticed “suspicious activity,” her clue was “maybe I shouldn’t leave this room past 6pm.”
What do clues have to do with behavior change? They’re part of the environment, one of the Fourteen Determinants that drive behavior.
Those of us in the field are good at using meta analyses, lit reviews, and other resources to understand attitudes around a particular behavior, and these typically include analyses of the environment. The shortfall is that they don’t always focus on how people perceive their environments.
Making changes in that space can have a big impact. Instead of solely focusing on what we want people to do, we also have to focus on the extent to which we can build the ideal environment that helps them do it. That could be as simple as a user experience on a website or as complex as a patient experience in an E.R.
This type of broader focus plays on emotion–people develop certain feelings about your brand and what it allows them to achieve. That will win the behavior change game more than logic or education any day.
Meisha Thigpen is a Creative Director at Marketing for Change.