Maximillian Frimmer
Maximillian Frimmer
Peak-end-rule: We do not remember the same thing we experience

Peak-end-rule: We do not remember the same thing we experience

In this article, I will review the peak-end rule and describe how the principle can help you to more satisfied customers. The peak-end rule is reviewed by Daniel Kahneman in his TED talk “the riddle of experience vs. memory ”In the video, Kahneman describes an experiment conducted with two patients. They are both undergoing painful surgery. The figure below illustrates how the pain developed over time for the two patients:

Which of the two patients has had the most pain?

It has patient B. His pain has been at the same level as A (they both peak around 8), but in patient B the pain has been significantly longer. Where the operation of patient A lasted a total of 9minutes, the pain for patient B lasts for more than 20 minutes. Patient B has thus experienced significantly more pain than patient A. The interesting thing about the experiment is that when you subsequently ask the two patients, patient A remembers the operation as significantly more painful than patient B. There is thus a very big difference in what we experience. , and what we remember.
According to Kahneman, we primarily remember our "peaks", ie. the most extreme experiences(in the experiment the point where the pain hits 8/10), as well as the end of an experience. Where patient B experiences the least pain at the end of the operation, patient A experiences much greater pain at the end. This is the difference at the end of the operation the two patients remember, and therefore patient A remembers the operation as very painful.
According to Kahneman, the same principle applies to all our experiences. The principle is often referred to as the "peak-end rule".

If you have to judge the quality of your last vacation, you will most likely not judge the vacation based on everything you have experienced, but based on the few experiences you remember best, as well as the end.

A basic principle for experiences is that we remember experiences beyond the normal better than expected. In the book "Jytte from Marketing has unfortunately gone for today", Münsted gives the following example: "Why can't you source yourself? The difference is the moment of surprise: stimuli that you expect can simply not create the same reaction - neither emotionally nor behaviorally ”.

In the same book, he also mentions an example of how the consulting firm McKinsey has helped an insurance company that manages health insurance with their customer experience based on the peak-end rule.

1. Get the good experiences delivered quickly and concentrated: McKinsey made sure to move the bad news as far away from the end as possible, as well as present them together so that they fill as little of a conversation as possible.

2. Divide the good news and spend a lot of time on it: Combine all the bad news at once early and subsequently spend as much time as possible on good news, which is divided into many smaller stories. This ensures that you put a distance between the time of the bad news and the end of the conversation.

3. Save the best news at the end: The conversation ends with the best news or by emphasizing the most positive thing about the insurance product. Thereby, it is the positive news from the end of the conversation that is remembered rather than the bad news from the start of the conversation.

Proposal for implementation of the peak-end rule

You can make use of the peak-end rule in the same way that McKinsey did for the insurance company. Present bad news quickly spread the good news and end strongly.
You can apply the principle in the individual conversation, e-mail or SMS. Of course, you can also apply the principle the other way around, and end a dialogue by reminding the debtor what happens if he does not pay his debt.
You can also use the principle after the debtor has paid his bill. Usually, the debtor does not expect to hear more from you. Your relationship thus ends with a bad experience for the debtor as he pays a bill. What if, after the debtor has paid, you surprise the debtor with something positive? The debtor does not expect to receive a bouquet, a handwritten card, or any other form of thank you and see you again. If you surprise the debtor with something positive, the chance that he remembers and mentions you positively is much greater!