The Future of Customer Experience at Nudgestock 2015

By Chris Averill, CEO & Founder

June 30, 2015   

I was very fortunate to attend OgilvyOne’s Nudgestock event this year to discuss the future of customer experience and behavioural science. It was a day of challenges, ideas, experiments and scientific brain expansion.

We now live in a world where the customer experience, or rather the customer’s experience of a brand, is the number one factor that 86% of businesses will compete on in 2016. Expectations were high at the event, since behavioural economics has never been more relevant, arguably business critical than it is today.

To summarise the event, which was led by Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy Group and the undisputed father of behavioural economics. The range of speakers was vast, covering a multitude of topics as varied as showing that risk, or the risk-adverse, are the biggest threat to innovation, all the way through to why the London tube map is too good and causes more issues than it solves. I learnt a couple of top tips: firstly that you can gamify online donations, and secondly that purpose or passion in what they are doing is what drives today’s employees rather than salary — so something to ponder on.

I have long been an advocate of the theory that the problem companies face is not finding the right answer, it’s asking the right questions, and this was an ongoing theme at Nudgestock 2015. If your team asks smart questions they define problems well and lead to a clear vision of the issues involved. When that occurs, it’s easier to run through scenarios and find the best answer that leads to growth and profit. Brands must determine the customer needs before attempting to solve them, or you create a product that neither improves the customer experience nor drives sales.

My stand out speaker was Gerald Ashley (@gerald_ashley) whose topic was data, risk and the challenges we face in the future. He argued that everyone who is data reliant is essentially driving their bus at full speed whilst only looking backwards in the rear view mirror. The lesson being that relying on historical data as your only reference will ultimately end in a crash (think financial, brand and business). While data is an important tool to factor in to an overall strategy, to rely on it is a risk adverse way of working; it’s not innovative, progressive or smart. Gerald also featured an excellent quote on risk that ties in with the theme of asking the right questions:

“Often we just measure risk. But say we are managing risk, and overlook identifying risk. How can we know we are managing the correct risk?”

Dr Nichola Raihani, from UCL, enlightened us on the fact that you can “game” online donations. Well, it only works if you’re female, have generous male donors, and aren’t afraid to be a little controversial! Her research shows that this method will increase your donations by 10% per donor:

  1. Put a photo up of yourself that’s as attractive as possible.
  2. Ask a couple of male friends to donate large (£100+) early on.
  3. Watch your male friends increase their spend in an age old physiological “I’m a suitable mate” way.

It’s worth noting that this only works on men, women do not show any gaming traits with online donations. It may seem like an obvious trick but I would never have thought to apply it to online donations. Perhaps it proves that men are not as socially developed as we would like to believe…

In summary, the majority of people know or at least have a gut feel for where the future is taking us. The difficulty we need to overcome is having confidence in asking the right questions and not relying on data to inform the future. Applying behavioural science to your gut feel will guarantee 100% success in everything you do, that’s why our clients trust us to bring their customer’s into the process, and our Customer Lab partnership with OgilvyOne is the perfect platform for clients to get to know their customers and work with Ogilvy Change to boot.