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Nadia Medjad: What brain science brings to customer relations

23rd July 2019
Nadia MedjadAfter explaining the concept of trust*, Nadia Medjad, doctor and neuropedagogy expert, delivers her advice to improve customer relations through new knowledge about the brain. Nadia Medjad is an expert from the INRC on socio-emotional competences (soft skills). She is also co-author of the book “NeuroLearning: les neurosciences au service de la formation” [neurosciences for learning] (Eyrolles publishing), and founder of Neuro-Echology Consulting.


What can be done to establish a good relationship between two people?

To sum up, our brains naturally tend to be wary: they seek to detect threats to our survival. He therefore has no confidence and even tends to be alarmed. Hence the frequent appearance of a negative emotion, fear, and the need to take it into account – before any relationship!

In practice, everything must be done to avoid triggering this feeling of fear. Because as soon as this emotion seizes the brain, it switches to a “degraded” functioning, in the sense that it loses its means of functioning logically. Any dialogue becomes difficult, even conflictual and irrational.

How can brands create the conditions for a satisfactory relationship with their customers?

The objective is to create a feeling of psychological and emotional security. To achieve this, doubts must always be avoided. Because as I just explained, in case of doubt, the brain will make the worst case scenario: the brand is a predator trying to trap me!

So, to avoid doubts, it is recommended to clarify everything. Each step of the customer journey must be crystal clear. This simplification work is costly for brands, but necessary.

Tha lack of clarity will generate doubts, efforts, abandonment, unnecessary questions, misunderstandings and even conflicts. It is exactly the same mechanism as for an encounter between two people, as we have seen previously.

How to clarify the customer journey?

Neuropedagogy provides practical solutions and leading principles. To name a few:

  • it is recommended to calibrate the difficulty, i.e. to reduce the stress associated with cognitive overload in a given individual. In other words, the relationship must be personalized: what is difficult for a senior may not be for a millenial. To find out, it is better to make measurements and tests, such as 1/B tests for example,
  • the rules of the game must be explicit and transparent: brands must avoid, for example, creating terms and conditions that are incomprehensible to anyone who is not a lawyer. More broadly, the contract – in the broadest sense of the term – that is concluded between the brand and its customer must not contain ambiguities or grey areas.

Moreover, it is not enough to clarify every point of a customer’s journey, it is necessary to maintain his attention and motivation!

How to maintain a good level of customer attention and commitment?

Here too, some practical solutions and proven guidelines can be proposed:

  • Respect the client’s freedom, i.e. not to confine them into choices that are too limited or constraining. To remain engaged, curious, he must have more choices. This sense of freedom will be further increased if this customer has the opportunity to express himself, to express his preferences, to share them, etc.
  • Increase the sense of success by multiplying small successes. Scientific experiments show that, on a journey, we prefer the succession of small successes to a larger final reward. The idea is therefore to nurture mpotivation, to give regular feedback, for example by adopting gamification principles.
  • Enhance the sense, i.e. enable the customer to understand that his or her interest in a product or purchase is part of a more general, meaningful context: the envirnoment, family, health, etc.
How are brand values and ethics perceived and evaluated by the customer?

Our brains and minds fundamentally need meaning. When acting, the individual must feel in phase, in keeping with his or her own values. If this is not the case, negative feelings, such as doubt or guilt, will emerge. The decision will be abandoned or postponed.

Hence the importance for brands to display and above all to embody motivating and authentic values. The lack of authenticity being perceived as a deception, or even as an attitude of contempt on the part of the client.

Moreover, we must not forget that we are not isolated individuals: we have a “social brain”. The brand or its product must allow and even encourage the creation or strengthening of our social ties.

In conclusion, what are the contributions and limitations of neurology in the relationship between the brand and its client?

Brands car now rely on certain advances in neurology. However, there are ethical limits to be respected – for example, as set by the American neurologist Robert Lustig (author of The hacking of the American Mind).

Historically, some neuro-marketing research has focused on creating or strengthening an addictive relationship between the brand, the product and its customer. This approach, which is morally reprehensible, has also become very risky.

In the end, neurology can make a significant contribution to the relationship between brands and their customers, as long as people are respected and a strong win-win relationship is created!


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Article by: Marion Windels

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