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How to Understand Customer Behavior


How to Understand Customer Behavior

In this article, Danielle Anderson explains why C-Suite executives and CX leadership should look to behavioral science to improve the customer experience. 

In a world where we as consumers are spoiled for choice, brands are continuously searching for ways to differentiate themselves from competition, gain our attention and ultimately win our loyalty. To successfully compete in this crowded contest for share of mind – and wallet – organisations must offer a distinct and memorable Customer Experience (CX) as part of their business strategy. 

While this is not another article prescribing how to design, build and optimise a great experience, it is a call to action for C-Suite executives and CX leadership. Far too long we have missed a fundamental piece of the puzzle, one which I believe is the next frontier of the Customer Experience.

But before the big reveal, let’s first take a moment to ensure we’re starting the conversation on the same page: 

Customer Experience def. | All interactions a customer has across any touchpoint – physical or digital – with a brand. Not based on a single journey (i.e. awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, loyalty), but rather the amalgamation of the collective journeys throughout a lifetime. 

Customers have always wanted brands to understand their needs and preferences. Increasingly, they expect them to offer seamless, personalised and intuitive experiences to meet – and ideally exceed – these expectations.

As a result, customer-centric brands have traditionally focused their attention on investing in tools that capture what customers say, think and do to help inform their journeys, including:

Customer Data Platforms (CDP) 

Marketing Automation and Personalisation tools

Voice of the Customer (VoC) and Feedback capabilities

Customer Service Enablement systems

…and the list goes on and on

But what if we started with a mindset that shifted us from what to why? 

Behavioural Science explores this intersection of what customers say, think and do (i.e. the why). By understanding how people make decisions that drive their behaviours, brands are able to better engage customers with more relevant experiences. So how do we as leaders act on this knowledge? 

We ‘nudge’. 

Human nature drives us to believe we are individually unique. However, the truth is we’re more alike – and predictable – than we’d like to think. We hold biases and make irrational decisions rooted in emotional or psychological factors that are not immediately apparent. 

Nudging is the intentional use design elements based on Behavioural Science principles to influence customers to take certain actions or make certain decisions. For example, think about a time when you planned to quickly glance at content on YouTube (or TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Bluesky, etc.) but found yourself scrolling through videos hours later? 


Key points include:

  • The default effect
  • Framing
  • Salience


Read the full article, Shifting from ‘What’ to ‘Why’: The future of Customer Experience is Behavioural Science, on LinkedIn.