What is your view on how people make decisions? In this blog post I describe why we at Susan Bell Research think sense-making is such a useful way to think about how consumers, citizens and business people make decisions. For us, it is better than the alternatives, so let's start there.
Recently, the impact of our work was seen at a national level during the Banking Royal Commission where several of our reports were submitted for consideration.
We conduct many projects on emotional, sensitive or challenging topics, connecting with customers who are in difficult or confronting circumstances of various kinds. Our research into emotion-driven decision-making focused attention onto the impact on individuals navigating life-changing decisions about superannuation, retirement and investment.
Deep understanding of the decision making process can enhance the way an organisation addresses the pain points of their customers and stakeholders.
Here are three key lessons we have learned in our work researching how people make difficult decisions, especially long term decisions like whether or not to retire, or whether to invest in a self-managed super fund.
Are you afraid that technology has taught us all to live in a fast multi-tasking world so that your customers and stakeholders have ‘the attention span of a goldfish’?
Don’t worry. Just because many of us multitask while watching movies, that doesn’t mean that we can’t pay attention when we have a goal to achieve. I like this distinction from from Google on how people pay attention, by leaning forward, or leaning back. Whether someone ‘leans forward’ mode or ‘leans back’ mode depends on their goals at the time.
It's great to see that our qualitative customer experience and survey research can have such impact:
Our report describes how consumers decide to buy direct life insurance and how they decide how and what to buy. Our sense-making approach to research revealed how some consumers struggle with their experience. These products are complex so consumer understanding of their features is often poor.
In recent years, we have been very fortunate to be awarded some really interesting stakeholder survey projects. We love it when we win these, because they are always challenging and take a lot of collaborative effort to work through.
The more we have conducted, the clearer it has become that we need to design very different research for stakeholders than we do for research which is among discrete samples of consumers, employees or audiences.