Think of the last great movie you saw. Odds are it had an intense climax and a mind-blowing ending. Right?
Now think back to the last shoddy movie you wasted your time sitting through. Maybe it started off promising, but the action never built, and it continued on at a sluggish pace until it fizzled out.
So why did you sit through that whole 90 minute movie if it was so awful? If it was anything like the last movie I wasted my life on, it’s because there were some decent parts. Random scenes and events were exciting and enjoyable. Yet, I remember the whole movie as miserably boring. Why?
The Peak-End Rule
Developed by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, peak-end theory states that when we look back, we won’t remember our feelings throughout an event or experience, but rather our emotions at the peak and end of that experience.
The same can be said about customer experience.
If you provide a client with excellent service and end the interaction on a high note, he or she will build positive memories and associations about you and your brand. These memories go on to shape the client’s ultimate opinion and can lead to referrals, good reviews, and repeat business.
The peak-end rule can also work to your advantage in a situation where the client is unhappy with his or her experience. BY ESTABLISHING A FIRMLY POSITIVE ENDING, YOU CAN COUNTERACT NEGATIVE OCCURRENCES IN ANY CONSUMER INTERACTION.
Further studies have found that even the order in which people have positive experiences significantly affects their memory. A customer who has a mildly satisfying experience followed by a highly satisfying experience will rate you higher than a customer who had the same experiences in reverse.
The way we experience an event is not the way we remember it. The ending is paramount. THE WAY AN EXPERIENCE ENDS DETERMINES THE HAPPINESS YOUR CLIENTS WILL ASCRIBE TO IT.
Our memory of past experiences (both pleasant and unpleasant) does not correspond to an average level of positive or negative feelings but rather to the most extreme point and the end of the episode. By understanding and employing the peak-end rule, you can effectively influence how customers remember you.