Behavioural Economics

Designing for Humans

Customers, employees, citizens, and organisational leaders frequently deviate from making optimal decisions. For example, customers don’t pay debts even when they can afford to; employees are slow to adopt new technologies which would save them time; citizens waste water when it is in short supply, and leaders often sign contracts that leave their business worse off. People tend to make these adverse decisions because they rely on instinct to make decisions, which is influenced by the way choices are framed, timed and socialised.

PwC’s behavioural economics team works with organisations to help customers, employees, citizens, and firms improve decision-making in line with organisational goals. Our solutions are win-win: individuals retain choice but are not led astray by behavioural biases; organisations increase revenues or decrease costs. Our solutions are rapidly scalable because they typically involve small but powerful tweaks to the way in which choices are presented. Moreover, we use experiments to demonstrate the impact of our solutions and scale the most successful interventions in a rapid and evidence-based way.

We have developed a series of repeatable propositions that have unlocked value for our clients

Under each group is a series of propositions

Under each group is a series of propositions

We have proven the effectiveness of these propositions

We have proven the effectiveness of these propositions

Our approach

How we tackle this with clients

Our 5 step approach diagnoses the behavioural biases affecting key customer groups, identifying interventions and rolling out the most effective treatments at scale.

5 step approach

How we design solutions

Our approach draws on research from across the social and behavioural sciences. We consider four factors in understanding decisions and behaviour: 1) the customer, employee or citizen actors, and the 2) economic factors, 3) behavioural factors and 4) social factors that influence those decisions and behaviour.

Our approach to behavioural economics

Case studies

Improving customer response rates

PwC designed a behavourally-driven customer process flow for the client to use and redesigned communication letters with defaults which increased customer response rates by over 300%.

Boosting tech adoption

PwC worked with a major national transport project to design behaviourally-informed employee journey maps to identify behavioural blockers. This allowed targeted nudges and interventions to be designed to overcome these blockers which resulted in an 81% increase in daily users of key software.

Improving employee engagement

PwC designed over forty nudges to help an internal team improve compliance with a number of financial and personal independence issues. Implementation of these nudges resulted in a 55% increase in compliance software usage.

Increasing recurring revenues

PwC used customer segmentation to categorise customers into eight behavioural segments - enabling team members to design specific contact strategies for each - optimising sales conversations and ultimately increasing recurring revenues by $15m for a global enterprise software company.

Reducing bill non-payments

PwC used social norms, framing and simplification to redesign customer bill letters with nudges to encourage customers to promptly pay their bills, resulting in a 52% reduction in non-payments.

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