Neuroscience, customer service and why we should always deliver and never over-promise – Interview with Dr. Jack Lewis

brain scan

Today’s interview is with Dr. Jack Lewis, Managing Director and Founder of NeuroFormed and recent author, with best selling author and motivational speaker Adrian Webster, of Sort Your Brain out. Jack joins me today to talk about the book, what neuroscience can teach us about customer service and how customers make decisions.

This interview follows on from my recent interview: The habits of leading customer centric businesses – Interview with Bob Thompson – and is number one-hundred and six in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.

Sort Your Brain out: Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve MoreHere are the highlights of my interview with Jack:

  • Following his post-doctoral work, Jack became hacked off with the fact that many neuroscientific insights were ‘locked away’ in the science community.
  • So, he decided to try and simplify these insights and share and communicate them and their applications to as many people as possible via TV and other media as well as directly via his consultancy firm, NeuroFormed.
  • The brain is the most sophisticated organ in the known universe and yet does not come with a user guide.
  • The book aims to help us better understand our brain, how it works and how to keep it healthy.
  • I first came across the book via on MyCustomer.com in an article called ‘What can neuroscience teach us about customer service?’.
  • Advances in neuroscience in the last ten years have cast light on how and why people make decisions and behave in certain ways.
  • When considering a purchase or making a decision, the environment and the people involved have a huge impact on the decision making process.
  • Therefore, when considering a product or service and their associated benefits, we tend to be influenced by other things outside of the set of benefits associated with the product or service.
  • The mind finds it very difficult to put itself in two situations simultaneously. This can go some way to better understanding how a salesperson, tasked with selling, can find it hard to appreciate the perspective of a customer and why there can sometimes be a disconnect.
  • Therefore, it is really good practice to be mindful of this and develop the habit of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes so that you can check what you are doing, it’s impact and how the customer sees things.
  • We judge things through things that we do understand rather than things that we don’t i.e. we will often judge how good a restaurant is by how clean the bathrooms are or will judge the quality of customer service agent by how polite they are and how they address us.
  • Neuroscience has also found that ‘our reward pathways [in our brains] over-react disproportionately to losses in comparison to gains. This is why we humans are so loss averse and why understanding how your customers have been let down in the past is so important’.
  • This is linked to our ’survival’ instinct.
  • The latest insight on how the brain works is that it is a hypothesis generating machine whose job it is is to create a model of how the world works and minimise surprise.
  • Therefore, when we come across surprises that call into question our model of how the world works that causes us to question everything about we had previously assumed.
  • That’s also why once a customer has experienced a surprise loss or disappointment it is difficult for the firm to recover from and recovery can take time and patience.
  • Jack talks about two areas of the brain that are central to all of this: the Insular cortex and the Amygdala.
  • Jack thinks that the lessons for businesses include: Always deliver and never over-promise.
  • To illustrate this Jack uses an example of the over-hyped film that when you actually see it you invariably leaves you disappointed as it hasn’t lived up to its hype.
  • Conversely, rather than focusing on ‘selling’ benefits, what can be more powerful is to adopt a strategy where the business focuses on helping customers avoid any of the losses or disappointments that they may have experienced in the past as mentioned in The customer service strategy with the best RoI.
  • Many firms, rather than surprising and delighting their customers, could benefit by communicating to their customers that they won’t lose and won’t be disappointed if they use their form rather than only focusing on the positives or the benefits.
  • Jack advocates that we apply these types of insights and others (all in the book) to all aspects of our lives including how we deal with customers, colleagues in our businesses and people in our personal lives.
  • Other insights Jack shares include the use of 15 minute naps throughout the day as a way to boost performance and creativity. Thomas Edison used to do this routinely.

About Jack (adapted from various bios)

Dr Jack LewisJack has a First Class degree in Neuroscience from Nottingham University and earned his PhD from University of London using fMRI brain scanning to investigate multisensory perception – specifically investigating where in the human brain what we see is integrated with what we hear. His most recent research in multisensory neurobiology was conducted at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in September 2010.

Over the last 5 years Jack has been involved in several television projects (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery, National Geographic, Teachers TV, More4 and MTV) either as presenter and/or science consultant. Jack also provides neuroscience consultancy services to TV, PR, Marketing, Planning and Advertising firms via his firm NeuroFormed.

In 2014, Jack collaborated with the best selling business author and Motivational Speaker Adrian Webster to write Sort Your Brain Out – Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More.

You can connect with Jack on Twitter @DrJackLewis and on LinkedIn here. Finally, check out his personal website (www.drjack.co.uk), his business NeuroFormed and do check out the book: Sort Your Brain Out – Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More.

Photo Credit: Genista via Compfight cc

Comments

  1. Adrian, I liked the point about customers making decisions on what they know about rather than what they don’t. I’ve often found that in meetings a disproportionate amount of time is spent discussing mundane things (colour of the new office walls) and far less on more complex things, (should we enter a new market). I guess that is the exact same dynamic at work.

    • adrianswinscoe says:

      I think it may be, James. However, says a lot about the people making the decisions and what they ‘know’ about.

      Adrian

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