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  • Writer's pictureIvaylo Yorgov

CX Science: do it right or don't do it at all


  • You could be worse off if you implement a good CX strategy unsuccessfully, than not having a good strategy in the first place. In the memorable words of Kahneman and Tversky, "losses loom larger than gains" *

Now what:

  • Great CX initiatives are great, no doubt about it. But make sure you can also deliver on your promise, otherwise they can backfire.


Loss aversion is by now a widely known behavioural economics concept. Put succinctly, it states that "losses loom larger than gains" - the same amount of money, for example, will subjectively feel larger if you are loosing compared to gaining them.

Now, there is an ongoing debate in the CX world around a similar matter. The essence of it is more about the right order of doing things; simply put, the two positions in the debate are "Delight your customers" vs "Offer reliable baseline and only then move to delighting".

A 20-year-old study I came across the other day struck me as it was answering a very similar question. Mark Colgate and Peter Danaher set off to investigate the implementation of personal-banker strategy as a way of developing closer customer relations in New Zealand.


This is a sound strategy, by all means. If done well, it can help banks build much stronger relationships with customers, with all the benefits that stem from this. And indeed, Colgate and Danaher found out that customers who were happy with their personal banker were also happier with the bank compared to before the personal banker.

But what would happen if satisfaction with the customer banker is low. As expected, the satisfaction with the bank is also lower than before.

And here came the surprise for me. Not only did a poor satisfaction with the personal banker made things worse than before; its negative effect was actually higher than the positive effect of high satisfaction with a personal banker. You are reading this right. A poorly executed good CX intervention, in this case, led to a lower overall satisfaction than no intervention at all.


This study reminded me of another one published in the Journal of Marketing Research recently and which hints towards a similar conclusion. The authors of this second article show that customer satisfaction impacts investors' short-selling behaviour, and more interestingly, that "Customer dissatisfaction has a more pronounced effect on short selling compared with customer satisfaction.". Again, dissatisfaction looms larger than satisfaction.

More on this in another article. In the meantime, take care and make sure you can deliver on what you promise, for otherwise customers might punish you.

My best wishes for a great day ahead!

CX Inspirations - card 28
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