In case you missed it, Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economics. He’s a well-known behavioral economist and author of the popular book Nudge. Thaler often collaborated with another behavioral economist (and one of my favorite economists of all time), Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize in 2002.

You may have seen Thaler in this scene from The Big Short where he and Selena Gomez explain a financial instrument called a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO). [Note: there’s some foul language].

So what does this have to do with CX design?

Thaler applied behavioral economics to government interactions with citizens. Through this citizen experience design, he was able to raise the number of organ donors, increase the level of retirement savings, and improve response rates to automotive registration bills among other things.

Thaler’s work demonstrated that experience design can’t assume that humans behave in a rational manner, it must take into account that people make most of their decisions using intuitive thinking.

That’s why behavioral economics is the foundation for what we call Design for Real People, a component of Customer Connectedness. If you’re doing any experience design, then you need to understand how people make decisions and how they respond emotionally to your actions.

The bottom line: Behavioral economics is a foundation for good CX design.

This blog post was originally published by Temkin Group prior to its acquisition by Qualtrics in October 2018.