Like to Push Buttons? Me Too! Let’s Keep Pushing
May 8, 2014
Have you ever heard that “Close” button on the elevator button really doesn’t work? It’s just there to make us feel like we’re controlling the situation. Hey is the elevator psychologically manipulating us?
SOME years ago, executives at a Houston airport faced a troubling customer-relations issue. Passengers were lodging an inordinate number of complaints about the long waits at baggage claim. In response, the executives increased the number of baggage handlers working that shift. The plan worked: the average wait fell to eight minutes, well within industry benchmarks. But the complaints persisted.
Puzzled, the airport executives undertook a more careful, on-site analysis. They found that it took passengers a minute to walk from their arrival gates to baggage claim and seven more minutes to get their bags. Roughly 88 percent of their time, in other words, was spent standing around waiting for their bags.
So the airport decided on a new approach: instead of reducing wait times, it moved the arrival gates away from the main terminal and routed bags to the outermost carousel. Passengers now had to walk six times longer to get their bags. Complaints dropped to near zero. io9
I guess that means we can stop pushing placebo buttons. “Placebo buttons are a lot like superstitions, or ancient rituals,” from You Are Not So Smart ,”You do something in the hopes of an outcome – if you get the outcome, you keep the superstition.”