My Father studied History at University. I studied Genetics. This, in my brash young mind, made me a superior person. After all a science is useful, you can apply a science and make money out of it. History however, well what exactly can you do with that?
I challenged my Dad once with this very point. He gave me the withering look that only a parent can truly master and said:
People will always do what people always do
People are predictable
Next time you get in a lift (or elevator for those of us of a transatlantic persuasion), count the number of people and watch where they stand. I will lay you a bet they line up like this:
- One person can rattle about doing whatever they want
- Two people will gravitate to the corners
- Three people will form a triangle
- Four people make a square
- Five people look like dots on a dice
More than that and it starts to get a little uncomfortable, but even then social norms are obeyed. Keep the conversation down, eyes front, don’t touch…
Next time you are in a lift have a look and see.
Of course it’s not just in lifts:
We might think we are unique but our behaviour is predictable. So if you know what your customers are likely to want to do then you can make it easy for them:
- We love to watch ourselves in mirrors, so if your customers have to queue give them a mirror to look at. The minutes will fly.
- We don’t look for things very hard, so put your best-selling products at eye level where they are nice and easy to find.
- We scan read, so put the important bits in bold.
- We put off making decisions, so make the hard decisions easy for us, (judicious use of opt in and opt out)
You won’t get it right for everybody, but getting it right for most people is a whole lot better than getting things wrong.
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Image by malias