Should you nudge, boost or redesign the experience

22nd Jul 2021
Associate Director Optima Partners
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When Should You Nudge, Boost or Redesign theService Experience
Dr. Graham Hill

This is part of a series on 'Rethinking the Service Experience'.

Designers have a range of different tools to improve the service experience. They should know when it is best to nudge, boost or redesign.

One of the key components of service experience design, arguably the most important, is understanding what decisions customers make during interactions as they progress through their journeys, and how they make them. Getting stuck at a key decision is one of the biggest reasons for customers to abandon their journeys.

Once you understand the customer decision landscape, you have a number of tools you can use to reduce the cognitive load on customers and improve their decisioning outcomes. Three of the most common tools are nudges, boosts and redesign.

Popularised by Thaler & Sunstein's book of the same name, nudges are used to help customers make better decisions by signposting what the 'right thing' to do is. For example, MGM Resorts encourages guests at its hotels to reduce their environmental footprint by reusing towels. In the bathroom is a little card with the words 'Ready to Toss in the Towel?', explaining the benefits to the environment of reusing towels rather than replacing them. A significant number of guests respond to this simple nudge by doing exactly that.

Whereas nudges are about the company signposting what the right thing to do is, boosts are about educating customers to make better decisions themselves. For example, German energy switching platform Verivox provides visitors to its website with a simple 'Energy Savings Calculator', which, with only three pieces of information, they can use to calculate their potential energy savings. This is a great example of 'data wrapping', as discussed in an earlier blog post.

Nudges and boosts are about helping customers make the right/better decisions within the current service. But sometimes that is not enough to help customers make the best decisions. In these cases, the service experience may have to be completely redesigned from the ground-up. For example, Garanti BBVA bank completely restructured its Flexicard credit card into approx. 20 modular components. The components can be mixed and matched into any one of up to 9,000 different credit card bundles, including having a photo of your choice on the front of the card. The ultimate in individualisation!


1. Identify the key decisions customers make during interactions in their journeys, and how they go about making them.

2. Identify where key decisions could be incrementally improved by nudging customers to make the right decisions, or supporting them while they make better decisions.

3. Identify where the service experience should be redesigned to lift it up to a whole new performance level.

What do you think? When should you nudge, boost or redesign the service experience?

#ServiceDesign #CX #Nudges #DataWrapping #Training

Original LinkedIn post:

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Dr. Graham Hill
By Dr. Graham Hill
22nd Jul 2021 13:40

Further Reading:
This post was stimulated by reading an interesting article on nudge, boost or redesign...
Reijula et al
'Nudge, Boost, or Design? Limitations of behaviorally informed policy under social interaction'
Although the article is about using nudges, boosts and redesign for social purposes the principles apply equally well for service experiences more generally

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Dr. Graham Hill
By Dr. Graham Hill
22nd Jul 2021 13:43

More Further Reading:
I posted earlier on how data wrapping, used here as an example of a boost, can help customers make better decisions...

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Dr. Graham Hill
By Dr. Graham Hill
23rd Jul 2021 12:10

Yet More Further Reading:
The bit about nudges reminded me of earlier work on the 'dark patterns' that employ nudges and design to purposefully encourage customers to do things that are not in their best interests. This is a big problem in eCommerce as numerous studies have identified., e.g. the Norwegian Consumer Council Forbrukerrådet's report on...
'DECEIVED BY DESIGN: How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy'

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