The Business of Gut Feelings
Our gut tells us: Gut feelings can’t be terribly reliable. Ironically, this is where it’s wrong. But it rarely fools us otherwise.
Intuition guides us through life: When you reach for your favorite spread at the breakfast table in the morning, you don't think about possible food contamination. Because the brand is familiar and stands for quality. Out of the same familiarity, everyone chooses their outfits or orders the preferred delivery service during their lunch break.
But how much can we rely on this somewhat ominous, elusive feeling? Shabnam Mousavi, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, researched the phenomenon. She asked German and American students which city they thought was bigger: Detroit or Milwaukee. 60 % of the Americans were correct, while 90 % of Germans got it right. The reason for this? The locals were trying to use their knowledge. The Germans decided purely on feeling. Which of the two cities they had heard about more often?
Knowledge, like memory, can be deceptive. Our feelings, on the other hand, rarely let us down. In business, too, we like to rely on our gut. Swedish economist Jon Aarum Andersen interviewed 200 managers in eight companies and found that most managers make their decisions intuitively.
How can you use this for the benefit of your business? It is of course difficult to actively change your customers' gut feeling. The first important step is to get to know your customers better. The more you know about your client, the better you can understand the intuitive decisions of the other party. Of course, it is logistically hardly feasible to have a nice chat with each of your customers. In the digital age, however, there is a practical solution: customer surveys. You can easily learn how to implement them on our website. You can also conduct surveys directly through your profile area.
Does your gut trust us?