(2006-10-31) Sierra Motivating Customers

Kathy Sierra on motivating your customers (Motivation). What do we want our users to do? And no, we don't get to say, "know more." That's not an action (Actionable, Real World). "Like us more" is not an action. Even my favorite, "KickAss" is not an action. How many people take a course in Design Patterns and then go right back to work and write the same clunky code, reinventing the flat tire? How many customers interact with a WebApp and then... just leave? How many people say they care deeply about a cause, but do nothing beyond bumper-sticker activism? How many people listen to a lecture on the dangers of smoking, but keep smoking? There is nearly always an action (or set of actions) you're hoping users will take, and most of you already know what that is. But we also know that this sometimes involves a change in behavior, something that's extremely hard to do.

She points to a Fast Company article from 1994 about Dean Ornish's success at changing behavior, and how rare that it. So instead of trying to motivate them with the "fear of dying," Ornish reframes (Framing)the issue. He inspires a new vision of the "joy of living" - convincing them they can feel better, not just live longer. That means enjoying the things that make daily life pleasurable, like making love or even taking long walks without the pain caused by their disease. "Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear," he says... Reframing alone isn't enough, of course. That's where Dr. Ornish's other astonishing insight comes in. Paradoxically, he found that radical, sweeping, comprehensive changes are often easier for people than small, incremental ones... Even when leaders have reframed the issues brilliantly, it's still vital to give people the multifaceted support they need. That's a big reason why 90% of heart patients can't change their lifestyles but 77% of Ornish's patients could - because he buttressed them with weekly support groups with other patients, as well as attention from dieticians, psychologists, nurses, and yoga and meditation instructors.

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