We often judge an experience by the most intense points and the ending experience. The peaks and valleys influence whether to repeat or avoid a similar situation in the future. This is called the peak-end rule and was popularized by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman in his paper “When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End.” His research shows that our experiences are most influenced by the peak and final levels of comfort or discomfort.
Consider air travel – the entire trip may be tainted by a bag not arriving at the end. The negative peak at the end of the trip ends up ruining the entire experience.
In our Customer Advisory Board work, we think about how to shape the most differentiated and meaningful moments in the meeting content that will drive discussion. The most common mistake our clients make is presenting too much content and not thinking through the points of discussion and engagement. If we just focus on what we want to debate and discuss and how we want to close the session for outcomes, the experience is often highly rated. People get energy from engaging.
The peak-end rule, applied well, may simplify your approach to thinking about how to transform the customer experience. Think about the moments of exchange and engagement first and see how that positively impacts the work you are doing with customers.