- Customer Relationships - How You Interact
- Channels - How They Know You/How You Deliver
This week, I brought in some outside help, Jo! So many of our conversations, particularly around modifying and changing behaviors have overlapped. It's fascinating to think about how some of the concepts we're learning in an MBA program, parallel with the scientific rigor of behavior therapy. Here's our edited and paraphrased conversation.
[Jo enters - stage left]
As a speech-language pathologist, my job is to analyze behavior and break it down into steps to be changed and shaped. This week, I was reading over Aric’s shoulder while he was looking at the Business Model You “Channels” component and I saw the “marketing process,” a series of five questions laying out how to define the conduit of information and products to customers:
[Jo enters - stage left]
- How will potential Customers discover how you can help them?
- How will they decide whether to buy your services?
- How will they buy it?
- How will you deliver what Customers buy?
- How will you follow-up to make sure Customers are happy?
I immediately thought, “oh, I know this, it’s the ABCs!” Not the alphabet song, mind you, but the chain of events surrounding human behavior that I examine every day: the antecedent (A), behavior (B), and consequence (C) of decisions that people make. These small actions are governed in large part by surprisingly simple rules, rules that are also surprisingly simple to influence.
So, let’s break it down, analyst style. The above questions target three steps in a behavior chain: what happens before the behavior, provoking or preventing its occurrence. This is called the antecedent and includes components of the environment or conditions such as where, when, who is involved.
Then, the behavior itself: the target behavior, it is called, the behavior that you want to change or modify. The crucial aspect of identifying the behavior is creating a definition of the behavior that is observable, measurable and specific.
Finally, what happens after the behavior: the consequence, which can either reinforce or increase the frequency of the behavior or punish and decrease the frequency of the behavior in the future.
Implementing changes in channels, then, becomes a scientific process instead of a guessing game. We manipulate the antecedents – the environment and conditions – and the consequences to change the behavior. Just like the behavior has to be specific, measurable and observable, so too do the changes. Step back, look at the variables currently influencing behavior. Decide on a small change. Make one change at a time. Observe and record data. Measure outcomes. Repeat and refine as needed. Or, as Gerald J. Langley et al. say in their book The Improvement Guide, Plan-Study-Act-Do. They set out a systematic way to approach system changes that can be universally applied.
Many business problems have already been tackled and analyzed in this way, for example:
- Behavior analysis to increase customer service:
- Analyzing salesperson burnout:
- Influencing customer’s buying of reusable vs disposable containers:
- Advertising’s influence on sales and theft of candy bars:
- How to increase residential consumers’ environmentally friendly energy use:
Being able to identify the decisions and choices we make can feel overwhelming. That creative tension I mentioned before - is easier to manage, when we can recognize that it's there. I'm reminded also of the LPD discussions around "Big Assumptions" - and how we try to live with them, and not "conquer' them... See you all at intensive!