[Don’t] listen to your customers

When asking questions fails

What people said:

The real reason:

But some people probably got it correct, right? Right?! Not really.

Imagine you could only trust 6% of the people you brought in for research. What’s Going On?

Conclusion? We just can’t ask “Why”

  1. Your customers tend to make up stories to explain their behavior. This is the Press Secretary.
  2. These stories tend to attribute behavior to attitudes, beliefs and preferences (e.g. “I care about my future”).
  3. The stories tend to discount the choice environment’s influence on behavior (e.g. we don’t say, “the default made me do it”)¹⁵
  4. We’re not aware that any of this is going on. If anything, we are overconfident in our ability to reflect accurately on our behavior.

About the Authors

References

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Thinking about Irrationality. Behavioral Scientist. Co-founder of Irrational Labs and Common Cents Lab.

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Kristen Berman

Kristen Berman

Thinking about Irrationality. Behavioral Scientist. Co-founder of Irrational Labs and Common Cents Lab.

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