Three ideas you’ll want to borrow from behavioural psychology for your digital transformation efforts.

Three ideas you’ll want to borrow from behavioural psychology for your digital transformation efforts.

To maximise the ROI of your digital transformation efforts you need to change the behaviour of your customers. Where they currently call you 15 times desperate to get an answer before getting frustrated and leaving. Instead you need them to not call at all; helping them serve their own needs and feeling more satisfied as a result.

I’ve pulled together this list of behavioural psychology principles which we’ve used to move large volumes of customers to cheaper self-serve or assisted self-serve channels, with great success.  The first 3 outlined in this post are the ideas I think every digital transformation could benefit from.  In the next post, I’ll cover specific behavioural psychologies that can be used in your digital service design efforts.

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1. Fun Theory

This is one of my favourite behavioural tricks. It is so often overlooked in the serious business of channel shift and in the serious arena of business, yet its tremendously valuable. The example I enjoy the most is a bin that used a cartoon like sound to suggest that rubbish you threw in fell for hundreds of meters and created a satisfying ‘BOOM’ sound when it hit the bottom.  The satisfaction of the sound led to people picking up litter and inadvertently cleaning up the park.  Check out to see people’s ideas for other ways to use fun theory to solve problems and be inspired about how you could use fun theory in your digital transformation.

2. Setting Defaults

Whilst quite a bit drier than Fun Theory, it more than makes up for it in importance.  Setting suitable default actions, i.e. one that will work for most of your user base and reflect the actions you are trying to achieve as a business; having large and often very immediate impact on KPIs.  For example, we often suggest that we remove the phone number from service websites where there is an objective to reduce call volumes. Of course, we do this in parallel with the introduction of much improved self-help to ensure the overall customer experience is improved.

In our work at Westminster City Council we set the default path for someone challenging their parking ticket.

It was:

– Choose to challenge or to review footage
– Fill in challenge form

We changed it to:

– Review evidence
– Choose to pay or alternatively continue challenging
– Fill in challenge form

By changing the default in that customer journey, we removed 17% of total parking challenges.

How could you change the defaults of your customer experience to make a material improvement?

3. Reduce Choices

Choice architecture was made popular by the book Nudge, which describes pretty much anyone who has to make a decision (everybody) as a choice architect.  The biggest trick you can take from choice architecture is to reduce the number of choices.  You’ll notice that pretty much every start-up you come across has a pricing page that offers three options, with one option set as default (the middle one). This means that the default is set for you to choose the one that’s not the cheapest (may be bad) or the most expensive (may be overpriced).  When looking at digitising back office processes, we often find situations where there are a small number of users who don’t have the digital access required to use the new process.  By treating these as the exception, rather than designing for them, we reduce choice and set a digital default.

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About Hugo Pickford-Wardle