Behavioural science meets data science

By Julia Christensen,

April 18, 2016   

Analytics are no longer enough to understand what makes people tick. How can you deal with irrational human behaviour?

Your organisation collects a huge amount of customer data: you know what your customers do, where and how often. But do you fully understand why? The challenge with customer data is to effectively crunch it to better understand the big picture, but if you really want to get to know your customers you need to start to view them as what they really are: humans.

Humans are irrational beings: we say one thing and do the opposite. How many times have you been on a diet and treated yourself because you ‘deserved it’, or you haven’t maintained your new year’s resolution? How many times have you realised the urgency of implementing change, but ended up procrastinating?

Our decision-making processes are not as rational as we like to believe, and there are a number of cognitive biases that drive our decision-making. However, we – humans – are irrational in a very predictable way. By studying and identifying these biases we can better understand how people behave, and predict behaviours.

Understanding humans

At WAE we use behavioural science combined with data science to unearth real human behaviours and identify patterns to help build a real understanding of drivers and motivations. You need to observe and immerse yourself in the way people interact with your products and services in real-life situations, you need to engage in conversations to really dig down below the surface. This is how you can introduce the small “nudges” that create positive behavioural change.

Our competitive advantage comes from truly understanding customers as humans. Moving away from idealised ‘audiences’ or ‘target groups’, we treat consumers as what they are: simply, people. Understanding them is all about connecting with them using a mixture of active and passive observational techniques to explore their inner attitudes, motivations, emotions, triggers, behaviours, reactions and painpoints.

Shifting behaviours

Over the years we have designed customer experiences within the public and private sectors for the likes of TfL, the Metropolitan Police Service, Lloyds and Zurich Insurance to mention a few. We have learnt that behavioural change can be beneficial from both a consumer and business perspective. Working with the Metropolitan Police Service we helped change the way people report crime. In the long-term, this means increased customer engagement, better service quality, higher return on investment and budget savings.

In a fast-changing, competitive and challenging world where budgets are tight and customers’ expectations are higher, it is no longer an option to make products that are just “good enough”. Brands must learn to create compelling experiences that fit well within the context of people’s lives – this is what we do at WAE.

Our approach to tackling business challenges is agile, flexible and iterative. We use behavioural science to unearthen human insights and data science to leverage on existing databases and uncover latent knowledge.

This approach, coupled with our extensive experience across industries, is used to collaboratively identify with our clients a list of key KPIs which we further test, measure and monitor over time. We have learned that it is a watertight methodology to demonstrate how positive behavioural change can impact business success.

Ultimately, we bring business transformation through Behavioural Economics, using a combination of behavioural science and data science: we help you predict and influence human behaviour and increase revenue through measurement.

Connect with us to find out more about how WAE transform businesses through Behavioural Economics.

Credits to: Mara Protano, Zornitza Yovcheva (Insights Consultants)