The Amplification Effect: How “little things” multiply to create unhappy customers and colleagues

Some time ago, I wrote an article and coined a phrase – “The Amplification Effect.”

I developed this concept after staying at a hotel in Las Vegas. After a small number of things went wrong, eg no greeting, could not get the light switch  in the room to work, no drinking glass in the room, my mind flicked to becoming acutely aware of things that went wrong. Little things then became amplified in my brain to be reinforcers that “this is not a great hotel – and I would definitely NOT recommend it” My brain started to look for things that would go wrong, rather than those that went right.

Little things become amplified to become bigger than they would be if taken in isolation.

This is unusual, as I am a pretty positive person. The mysteries of the brain….

The 3 Strikes Rule

I find that the Amplification Effect cuts in when people around you, or service providers, let you down three times. After that, you have made your mind up that this is eg  an unreliable person or service provider. and your brain is looking for evidence to confirm this.

I have had people in a work situation who let me down. The first time is human error. The second time is forgiven. But by the third time, a negative reinforcement process is starting to happen in my brain.

Thinking of our lives in customer service, while little things that go wrong might seem very minor, when three little things go wrong, you have a recipe for a dis-satisfied.customer. The lesson is to major in the minor stuff – and to make sure that someone owns the end-to-end customer experience.

And in a work situation, make sure that you focus on delivering consistently to your internal customers – whether they be your boss, your colleagues or other departments.

Remember, in both cases, after about 3 strikes, the Amplification Effect sets in, and after you have trained people’s brains in that way, it becomes hard to change people’s opinions.

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