The psychology of memorable experiences

A memorable experience designs customer journeys with the peak-end rule to ensure they are memorable, long after the journey is over.

The psychology of memorable experiences

A memorable experience designs customer journeys with the peak-end rule to ensure they are memorable, long after the journey is over.

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There is no question that Customer Experience Management , is emerging as a key business strategy for many B2C organizations. It can impact the bottom line , and generate multiple feedback loops at CX mature organizations , that give them lasting competitive advantage. Given it is all predicated on creating memorable customers experience journeys, it is important to review what that means.

We tend to judge past experiences by what happens most intensely and what happens last. Known as the peak-end rule, the rule-of-thumb was first proposed in 1993 by Barbara Fredrickson and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, who also dedicates a chapter to it in his modern classic Thinking Fast and Slow (2011).

According to the book, we are biased in what we recall, favoring highly emotional moments and the most recent moment. As a result, a large set of pleasant moments, one horrible moment, and a neutral final moment will be remembered as negative. Likewise, a large set of neutral interactions and one final excellent interaction will be remembered positively.

Many businesses discovered this through trial and error. For instance, grocery chains such as Lunds & Byerlys, in North America, found customers readily returned when presented with beautifully arranged food, high-quality samples, and cheerful cashiers that delivered genuine thankyous and goodbyes. In essence, they offered one strongly positive peak interaction and a strongly positive final interaction, both demonstrating the company’s brand promise.

Critics of the rule say things are far more complex. They cite evidence that while the peak is important, other elements in an experience are often more memorable despite being milder. Also, goal orientation and initial expectations impact how peaks and end points are remembered.

But all this really means is that businesses must ensure pre-journey marketing, peaks, end points, and the most memorable moments of a customer journey are all peppered with the company brand promise and values in order to result in an experience that is memorable long after the journey is completed.

Sure it is hard. Even assessing a firm’s ability to deliver , memorable customer experiences can be a challenging task. But it is also worth it. Firms that make the customer central and embrace CX will ensure they are the first choice among customers who now have dozens – and sometimes scores – of options to choose from. In short, it is good to be remembered for the right reasons.

See if our Customer Experience Management Consulting Practice can help you.

Customer Experience and how to implement it at your organization, download Synergy Consulting Group’s White Paper: From Satisfaction to Emotionally Connected.

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