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David Clark's profile photoMarc Bruh's profile photoStuart Auld's profile photoJim Douglas's profile photo
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I didn't need to see this.  Trying to implement significant change in a large body.  My work is cut out for me.
 
Service industries know that if we tell you two weeks and beat that estimate by any amount, customers see the experience as a positive interaction. If we promise to rush and fail to meet the deadline, customers see it as a negative transaction, even if we do it in a timeline that is faster than was reasonable to expect. I think this is the same basic principle. I think Steve Jobs practiced a variation of this principle with his approach to, "unless we can do a thing flawlessly, we just won't do it," design. 
 
I was thinking about a similar effect last week at Disney with the wait times posted for the rides. We were there during the off season. We walked on all of the rides - even those with wait times posted for 15 minutes. We were definitely coming in under the 15 minutes regularly and I can see where they would under promise a wait - exaggerate it and then over deliver on the actual time in line for a better experience. At least psychologically.
 
I've been telling my wife for years I want a Porsche 911 cabriolet. It made it pretty easy to sell her on letting me buy an older BMW Z3 as my weekend car. She felt like she was getting off easy. ;) 

Re: Disney - exactly. If I tell you that there is a 5 minute wait and you wait for 10 minutes too frequently, you'll be unhappy. If I tell you 20 and you get in under 15 more often than not, you'll be happy. You think you're "getting ahead" as opposed to "falling behind". 

Notice at Disney that the garbage cans all say, "Waste Please". They've got the psychology of keeping customers happy and directed down to an art. 
 
+David Clark http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/why-waiting-in-line-is-torture.html?pagewanted=all

And beating expectations buoys our mood. All else being equal, people who wait less than they anticipated leave happier than those who wait longer than expected. This is why Disney, the universally acknowledged master of applied queuing psychology, overestimates wait times for rides, so that its guests — never customers, always guests — are pleasantly surprised when they ascend Space Mountain ahead of schedule.
 
I mean, this is the basic argument between Android and iOS pundits right now. Android users talk about being empowered to take their system to the limits, and being reasonable about dealing with erratic behavior when they're pushing or exceeding the boundaries of the platform. iOS users talk about how consistent, reliable and efficient their platform is. People overwhelmingly seem to prefer to have boundaries set for them that give them the illusion of a better operating environment, even when that places artificial constraints on their experience. 

Whenever anyone asks me for a recommendation on iOS or Android, I explain this to them, and tell them that they need to figure out what their personality is. Are they going to be irritated when they know they're hitting up against artificial limits, and are they willing to deal with the repercussions when they go beyond those limits, or not? That is how most people should decide between the two platforms, in my opinion. 
 
+Donovan Colbert I love your second paragraph. My wife +Pam Auld has had an iphone for years. She got sick of me telling her how great android was so she finally went with a Galaxy S3. She's persevered for a few weeks but she's found it a challenge. Iphone 5 coming up. Your paragraph sums it up perfectly though. I'm prepared to put up with some clunky workarounds whereas she just wants it to work. The ios IS slick
 
Great comments, everyone.  Some of the examples are classic framing - throw out one number, and then a smaller number looks attractive, or at least reasonable, by comparison.  Infomercial folks do that all the time with words like, "Thousands sold at $400!" and following up with an actual price of $129.  The example in my post, though involves a little more - it's a give & take negotiation.  When the first person makes a concession, there's a social impetus for the second person to reciprocate by making a concession as well.  (Thanks for sharing, Guy!)
 
That's very interesting, and sounds logical. Not sure how comfortable I am with the idea that I'm being so manipulative though! 
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