Peak-End RuleOpen Access

Peak-End Rule

We remember an experience by its peaks and how it ended

We recall an experience by its most intense point and its end, as opposed to the total sum, duration or average of each moment of the experience.

Kahneman, Fredrickson, Schreiber & Redelmeier (1993). When more pain is preferred to less: adding a better end. Psychological Science.

The study

Setup

682 colonoscopy patients were split into two groups, with one undergoing a longer procedure but with a period of less discomfort added on at the end.

Results

After, patients were asked to recall the total pain felt. The peak-end group reported 10% less pain and a 10% increase in attending a follow-up procedure.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

How do you want to be remembered in customers’ eyes?

How do you want to leave them feeling? What little touches can you add to your product or service to leave customers feeling amazing and want to share with their network?

Takeaway image

Create a Customer Journey Map

Identify positive experiential opportunities to exploit and painful weaknesses to remedy. Some pains may be small or cheap to fix, yet play a big part in a person’s memory.

Takeaway image

Negative experiences are a hidden opportunity...

...to re-establish a positive peak and / or end. Things will go wrong, whoever’s at fault, so allow flexibility and an authentic humanity to surface, not just to save the relationship but to allow the brand to shine. Handle a problem well enough and that’s what customers will remember, not the problem itself.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
Peak-End Rule

Peak-End Rule

We remember an experience by its peaks and how it ended

We recall an experience by its most intense point and its end, as opposed to the total sum, duration or average of each moment of the experience.

The study

Setup

682 colonoscopy patients were split into two groups, with one undergoing a longer procedure but with a period of less discomfort added on at the end.

Results

After, patients were asked to recall the total pain felt. The peak-end group reported 10% less pain and a 10% increase in attending a follow-up procedure.

study graph
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