A few years ago Michael Norton and his buddies wrote about “The Ikea Effect” which they describe this way: “When people construct products themselves, they come to overvalue their (often poorly made) creations.” This turns out to be an important finding for consultants.
Norton’s gang studied their hypothesis using origami, which is not a product most people buy, but was undoubtedly easier for the researchers to haul around than pallets of build-it-yourself kitchens.
The research revealed that people “were so enamored of their own amateurish creations that they valued them as highly as origami made by experts.”
Hmmm… people valuing their own amateurish work as highly as the work of experts. Notice a striking resemblance to some of your clients?
When the Ikea Effect sprinkles fairy dust over a client’s own efforts, it can undermine the perceived value of our work. That’s doing us no favors. For clients to truly appreciate our contributions we have to outshine any competing, internal activities.
How do you combat the Ikea Effect? By coopting it. It’s not enough to simply produce outstanding work and “deliver” a project. You also need to:
- Deliver a high-value, client experience.
- Involve clients in the construction of their experience.
I listed the essential activities in an experience that creates customer delight, then realized that misses the point. Rather than telling you how to involve clients in the project experience, let’s build the list collaboratively.
Below are some prompts to spark your thinking about the client experience. Post your thoughts and input and I’ll pull some of your suggestions into the body of the blog itself.
- What do your clients get within minutes of signing an agreement with you?
- What happens the day/week/month after a project is signed?
- How do you update your clients throughout the project?
- How do you step “outside” the project’s tasks to ensure your client is pleased?
- How do you involve you client in the development of your solutions?
- How do your clients participate in the creation of deliverables?
Wm. David Levesque suggested that we think about our Net Promoter Score, and how the client experience will improve that.
Mary Drotar wisely advised us to stay positive, and David Lee reminded us to ask good questions rather than rushing to answers. Both suggestions will definitely improve the customer experience.
Mike Dalton shared his problem-solution-problem framework, which redirects attention back to the client.
Pete Haglich flipped the entire idea on its head by reminding us that we need to be on the lookout for the Ikea effect in our own work. Good point, Pete! Then Ken Acer revealed how he involves his clients in building their own versions of the tools, templates and spreadsheets we all love to construct for our clients. Outstanding.
Text and images are © 2022 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.