Change Blindness, don't overestimate your customer
I'ts been more than a year I posted this on slide share, But it vanished in the 'endlessness' of the web.
The black hole
Do you know that feeling? You changed your hair and no one noticed it. You have new glasses but only few prudently guess something seems to be changed without pointing out what exactly is different. Unnoticed hair style changes or an unseen new pair of glasses are still to overcome.
But being ‘unnoticed’ becomes a bit more frightening when we talk about huge investments, critical changes, technical or other adjustments meant to improve a service, to optimize a customer journey, to create a better experience.
A time ago a publisher asked MaResCon (of us) to conduct 8 focus groups to explore and to understand how the readers experienced the changes made in the newspaper(s). After the third group session: panic! None of the participant did refer to changes. The readers felt ok, did not have any remarks. A few mentioned that maybe possible maybe a newspaper section switched places … but that was it. The client felt insecure and a bit frustrated. But when we made the changes explicit to the readers at the end of the group session the adjustments were valued in a positive way! The made changes were in fact appreciated, but it all passed below the consumer radar.
While analyzing the qualitative data we felt the need for a strong case to explain the observed ‘blindness’ and to make it more tangible to the client. We thought about the “Gorilla Experiment” but that is more about the selective attention. Searching for real blindness to change or the possible incapability to notice change, we found an interesting video demonstrating the concept of “change blindness” We used this case, did the test during the presentation and the client immediately understood what happened to their readers J
What did the client learn? Don’t overestimate your customers! A product or service is not the center of their universe. When you’re changing or adjusting, share it with them and inform why you’re making these changes.
What did we all learn? It’s great to have small movie or a real live test to get your research message across.
MaResCon Consulting was founded by Frank Geers in January 2012. After an active career of 21 years in marketing and market research, becoming an independent research consultant was the next logical step.
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