Why Human Behaviour is VR’s Biggest Enemy, with Dr. Clare Mutzenich

Why Human Behaviour is VR’s Biggest Enemy, with Dr. Clare Mutzenich

Why Human Behaviour is VR’s Biggest Enemy, with Dr. Clare Mutzenich

Episode 94

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Episode 94

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Doctor Clare Mutzenich is the Associate Director of 7th Sense Research, a strategic analysis company that specialises in human experience and insights. In this episode we dive deep into human behaviour through a virtual lens, and what the use of VR could mean for the automotive industry.

Episode Summary

7th Sense Research’s approach of analysing client intuition and emotion using biofeedback has led them to work with many high-end clients like Jaguar and Rolls Royce. Clare talks about the benefits that VR could bring to individuals and businesses, while providing insight on what areas of the digital universe need to be regulated.


Throughout this episode, we talk about what’s in store for the future of the virtual world, ranging from opportunities for disabled individuals to be able to experience automobile simulations that would feel the same physically and emotionally, to vehicles being able to overlay information on a dashboard in a holographic way.


Diving into the ‘Driving the Future’ 3-year study, Clare and her team developed a nationwide survey that explored the public’s mode of transports and usage in the hopes of understanding how the public’s attitudes are changing.


In the end, they found 4 different segments that identify consumer characteristics:


The alarmists

Scared by the thought of cars driving themselves, alarmists would not want public transport and automobiles in general to drive themselves.

“So much could go wrong…”


The supporters

They are engaged and have accepted the automated vehicle future; they are supportive of the model and want to be a part of the movement.


The sceptics

The medias portrayal has diminished the consumer mindset on the idea,

e.g. being shown sensory limitations of objects obscuring the car cameras.

“It’s never going to happen…”


The swing voters

The swing voters can go either way, which is why this segment is the most important in promoting an automated future, as they can quickly become supporters with tailored messaging.


“Companies should be targeting their messaging. Specifically, to these four different types rather than just one message”


Why is this important?

Segmenting your messages leads to a greater understanding and acceptance of the provided message. Tailoring your messages to different demographics would ultimately lead to more supporters of the digital shift.



Although there are currently several limitations in the digital world, such as the lack of social cues and minimal sensory experience, the future is becoming more and more virtual. Which is why companies need to dig deeper when learning to perfect the customer experience that they provide to consumers, hopefully aiming to not lose their “human touch”!


To discover more about 7th Sense and their specialised strategic research, check out our full episode – available on all your favourite channels. Now including YouTube!


This article summarises podcast episode 94 “Why Human Behaviour is VR’s Biggest Enemy recorded by CX Insider.

Written by Octavian Iotu

Full Episode Transcript


Clare: The virtual world is not a safe space for women. Because the types of behaviours that men don’t show hopefully, in person, they will to an avatar. And we need to deal with those kinds of issues first. And even a salesperson having a bad day, a bad day in the virtual world may read completely differently. So, you might need to be extra, because you’re not getting bodily languages, these tiny little micro cues that we are all giving each other right now. You’re nodding so I’m thinking I’ll carry on, you’re smiling so I think they like this. That’s really hard in the virtual world so are we going to have emojis on our faces that will have to lift up our smiles even more? How that makes people feel, we’ve realised certainly when I was doing my work with the VR, people felt like they were really there, people duck, people go “oooh!”, and it’s not there it’s only there in the virtual world but you become so immersed in it. So anything that happens in the virtual world does happen to you in the real world, so that’s going to be a very complicated issue to deal with, that regulation of human social interaction in the virtual sense. We’re going into it like “yay!, we can have all these experiences” or I can sell you a car online in the dealership. But there’s a whole of understanding how customers want you to operate in that virtual sense, it might be really different than how they want you to operate in person, so again companies need to look at that before they jump and that’s the kind of thing that 7th sense can really bring that insight to understand the difference of how people want that interaction online.

Marcell: Welcome back to the CX Insider podcast. Today, Dr. Clare Mutzenich joins us from 7th Sense Research, and we’ll talk about using virtual reality and consumer psychology in tandem to enhance customer experiences with deep insights from the automotive industry that are sure to send waves across the CX strategy for all other sectors. Enjoy the conversation! Thank you very much for coming on the podcast, Clare. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you. Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey? Kind of what brought you here now?

Clare: Yeah. So my name is Dr. Clare Mutzenich, and my career started; I was actually a teacher first, and so 20 years of teaching sociology and psychology in a variety of different schools and was head of departments. I’d got to the point in my career where I still loved teaching and communicating about science, but I wanted to do more science, be actually part of the academic world. So I applied for a PhD, and so I did a PhD in psychology. But I was always interested in making that crossover into industry. And the PhD that I actually applied for was in autonomous vehicles. So specifically situation awareness in remote operation of highly autonomous vehicles. So the whole thesis was about- if a remote operator has to take over from a self-driving car that’s had some type of problem in its programming or a perceptual failure or navigation failure, how can we make that job easier for a remote operator who’s not there? Well, because obviously if you’re seeing information second hand, there might be some kind of lag. And when you’re not physically occupying an environment, it can be very difficult to pick up certain cues. There’s also a time factor. So, you know, an autonomous vehicle might be on a busy road. There may be, you know, people around it that are trying to communicate. And so all of these things make a remote operator’s job very difficult. There’s a lot of debate in the industry as to whether a remote operator should be there or not. Some people think it’s completely unsafe and then other people feel that it is the safety case in highly automated cars, because if you still have a human in the loop, then it means that you’re-

Marcell: Why do they think they shouldn’t be in the area?

Clare: Really, for the factors of you don’t have enough situational awareness to be able to make decisions. And also the cues that you’re giving the remote operator are usually coming from some kind of telecoms link. So if that fails and you’re actually remotely operating the vehicle, then that link fails. You’ve lost the connection with the car. So that could be really dangerous. Most of my work was involved with people making the decision so they wouldn’t be actively driving the vehicle. It would be a go no go type of decision that they could say it’s fine, carry on. Self-driving cars might stop because they see something in the road. It’s maybe a plastic bag. And so an operator could look at that through a screen or through a VR headset and could say, It’s fine, you can proceed. But there are still some issues like that plastic bag could be full of concrete. We don’t know that do we. But those are the same kinds of problems we’d have in situ, like when we were physically there ourselves, we’d have to make that judgment. But a self-driving car can’t because it doesn’t have that in its programming. It probably does by now because what we’re iteratively having to do is just go through and program all of these different types of edge cases into a self-driving car. But there’s just it’s like impossible unknowns, like how can you you know, a car doesn’t know that someone walking along the road dressed as a chicken is on their way to a fancy dress party just knows what a chicken is. It knows it shouldn’t be on the road.

Greg: That’s a big chicken.

Marcell: Malfunctions. Shuts down. Can’t do it.

Clare: And that’s what it’s programmed to do. That’s the safety case. It’s the minimal risk manoeuvre. Stop. Yeah. You know, and so a human needs to still be in the loop to actually make that decision.

Marcell: And you work now with 7th sense research could you tell us a bit about that company and what you’re up to now.

Clare: Yeah. So Seventh Sense research is a strategic insights company, so we work with automotive, sports and luxury clients to help them understand either how people perceive their products or use their products. It could be to optimise the way that they position those products in the industry or through marketing and brand positioning. And we were quite different from a normal market research agency that do interviews or focus groups because we use cutting edge research to get sort of more strategic insights. So the emotions of how people are working with your product or physically where they’re looking. So we use eye tracking technology to understand where people, let’s say, if they’re driving a new vehicle or you’ve got some element of product design in your vehicle to understand how they’re using it and then communicate with them. You know, you’ve said you didn’t like this, but you didn’t actually look at this. You Yeah. So it’s really good to get that feedback, bio feedback. But also, yeah, particularly with eye tracking people can look but not see. So just because your eyes fell on a certain point, it doesn’t mean you actually processed it. So I think companies are really interested from that extra level of insight that we can give.

Marcell: Speaking of extra levels of insight into your customers, have you heard of ACF Technologies? With ACF’s wide range of specialised customer flow solutions from appointment booking to queue management and everything in between, they can provide all you need to streamline your customer experience and learn more like never before. Interested? Head over to ACFTechnologies.com to discover what the industry leaders in software can offer you.

Greg: That’s always interesting.

Marcell: And linking that back to the autonomous driving as well. You were talking about the driving the Future surveys that you’ve been doing that you’ve got a new wave coming up for. Would you like to tell us a bit about how that looks and what that’s actually kind of looking at?

Clare: Yeah. So the Driving the Future is a three year study that we’ve been doing and it’s a huge sort of nationwide survey that asks people about their transport usage. So how they get to work, how often they go on public transport, what different kinds of public transport. But we also have a whole section where we ask them about their attitudes towards future transport. So automated solutions. And one of the things that we’ve found year on year and like you say, we’re just about to start a new wave, is that the general public don’t really want automated solutions. They want to own a car. Yeah, even Gen Z that you think would be particularly, you know, loving technology. Digital natives, they want to own a car. They still see themselves driving and they don’t want to relinquish, you know, the opportunity to have their own car. Generationally, we have similar attitudes that range from being really scared, very skeptical to absolutely love it. Sign me up for my autonomous utopia.

Greg: Adam probably.

Clare: Yeah, yeah. And really what we’re finding is you can segment four really key characteristics of the responses. So you’ve got the alarmists, the ones that are really scared to say, I don’t like it, I don’t want to be in a car that’s driving itself. I don’t want public transport that doesn’t have an operator inside. Then we have the skeptics who think there’s just so much that could go wrong. It’s never going to happen. And certainly when I started my PhD in 2018, they were saying that we’d have fully automated cars on the roads by 2025, and by the time I’d been doing it a year it was like, ooh, 20, 30. And then by the time I finished it was like 2050 and now it’s still like, the jury’s out unless you’re in San Francisco, in which case they are on the roads. But obviously we’re having a lot of problems. And so that’s what a lot of these skeptics see that public media portrayal of all these cars going wrong. And it’s very public and very comical as well. Just recently they had cones on the bonnet. So pedestrians are putting cones on the bonnets and they couldn’t go. So it’s obviously it’s an object. It’s a, you know, a solid object. So we’ve got alarmists and skeptics, but we have the supporters. As I say, they’re already engaged. They’re adopting. They definitely want to go for it. But we have swing voters that could go either way. And those are the types of people that you really need to understand the messaging of how to promote self driving cars, how to promote an automated future, connected and automated vehicles. And actually companies should be targeting their messaging. Specifically to these four different types rather than just one message, which is “the technology is great and we should all be going for it”. We should actually be thinking about how to send out, those segmented messaging. And so that’s what the Driving The Future Project is all about. It’s understanding year on year how those attitudes are changing, but also helping companies to start thinking about who are our customers and do they actually want our product and how do we tell them what the benefits are and how do we convince them is it’s coming? Yeah, it is coming whether you like it or not.

Marcell: So yeah, eventually, yeah.

Clare: Eventually, yeah, maybe in our lifetime.

Marcell: So the work you do with the eye tracking and stuff you’re saying that’s where people in cars, you know, maybe in a showroom or something they’re viewing a car, that sort of thing?

Clare: Recently we’ve been doing drive tests, so people are actually physically driving new vehicles. Okay. Yeah. And we’re understanding what they’re looking at and how they’re using it. So with eye tracking, you can create visualisations. So gaze plots of where people looked, how long they looked for and whether they looked at all in certain places. And you can draw areas of interest around anything that you wanted to actually calculate the metrics of how often people looked there and what the distribution of fixations in those areas were. And so that helps understand the way that people are using your product. But also we’re starting to look at with a particular client of ours about buying sort of automotive online. So the metaverse, which you know, I know we’re not supposed to use that word anymore, the virtual universe is basically an opportunity for lots of companies to have a different type of relationship with their customer base. Yeah. And for many people, they’re now actually buying a car online that they’ve never even seen or sat in. Yeah, they don’t want to go to a dealership or maybe a dealership has closed down. It’s too far away to travel to. And so we’re exploring possibilities of these virtual showrooms with some of our clients.

Greg: Yeah, that’s smart. I like that.

Clare: Yeah. And also experiences. One of my big pushes in the virtual world is for people to have an opportunity to experience things that they’ve never able to experience. So it could be someone riding a Triumph motorcycle who’s actually disabled, who would never be able to get on that that motorbike and drive it. But they might in the future be able to have that experience, you know, in a virtual sense. Yeah. Because, you know, there’s a number of different ways that you can actually have it physically and emotionally have the same or similar experience in a virtual world.

Marcell: A few weeks ago, the team and I sat down to discuss Apple’s new Vision pro headset. But now we have the chance to talk to a real expert. So if a brand is thinking about using virtual reality to tap into the emotional drivers of their customers, then what are the potential challenges of doing that? Because it doesn’t exactly sound easy. And beyond that is using VR to enhance customer experience even worth considering? Or is it just another fad?

Clare: Yes, it’s worth it. It’s a whole new world. It’s like a Wild West currently in the virtual world. And that’s going to have to be regulated. I think there are some big factors, not even necessarily ethical, but just social interactions that we have rules that govern our social interactions and our social spaces when we’re in person that we haven’t yet learned in a virtual world. Yeah. So there are lots of examples, particularly in terms of between men and women, where the virtual world is not a safe space for women because the types of behaviors that men don’t show, hopefully in person they will to an avatar. And so we need to deal with those kind of issues first. And even if you talked about like a salesperson having a bad day and a bad day in the virtual world may read completely differently. So you might need to be extra because you’re not getting this sort of bodily language, these tiny little micro cues that we’re all giving each other right now. You’re nodding. So I’m thinking, I’ll carry on. You know, you’re smiling. I’m like, they like this. You know, that’s really hard in a virtual world. So are you going to have to have some emoji on your face that’s going to like lift up your smile even more how that makes people feel.

Clare: We’ve realised certainly when I was doing my work with the VR, people felt like they were really there. People duck, people go, Oh! You know, and it’s not there. It’s only there in the virtual world, but you become so immersed in it. So anything that happens in the virtual world does happen to you in the real world. And so that’s going to be a very complicated issue to deal with like that regulation of human social interaction in the virtual sense. You know, we’re going into it like, yay, you know, we can have all these experiences or I can sell you a car online in the dealership, but there’s a whole thing behind it about understanding how customers want you to operate in that virtual sense. It might be really different than how they want you to operate in person. So again, companies need to look at that before they jump. And that’s the kind of thing 7th Sense can really bring that insight to understand the difference of how people want that interaction online.

Greg: Do you think that virtual reality is for every brand?

Clare: I think it depends what you think of when you think of virtual reality.

Greg: Yeah, I guess. I guess from-

Clare: Because augmented reality you could have some element of being in the real world with some augmented features. So certainly in automotive you can have a virtual overlay of information about the vehicle on the dashboard that’s sort of presented in a type of hologram or visual way. So that’s that’s kind of playing around with reality, the whole virtual reality. Could be changing your environment, you know, changing the world, portraying it in a completely different way. It doesn’t have to be a representation of the real world. So it really it depends how a brand interprets virtual reality, I think, as to whether it’s for them or not.

Greg: Yeah. And I guess it depends on their whole sort of customer engagement model.  What does that look like? Do they have physical locations, do they not? Some brands obviously just don’t have physical locations at all and they’re not planning to. So I guess there’s different considerations.

Clare: Some work that we’ve looked at with avatars. So customer help using an avatar. Customers don’t seem to mind them so much, but it’s the actual sales people that do because if they give them the wrong information, they’re the ones that then have to unpick it. So it’s also making your AI good enough, giving them the right information. Humans are very good with novel, unpredictable situations. You know, we use our initiative, we kind of interpret things. We pick up cues from other people. So you can definitely interact in a different way. Whereas any kind of AI or self-driving car just has a program. It’s humans that have to deal with the after effects of that if they’ve given the wrong information or if the customer’s not happy, they’re normally really not happy then that it’s an avatar.

Marcell: Yeah, I think it can probably lead to more discomfort and annoyance on the customer end because it’s adding more layers that could go wrong  because human error obviously is a big thing. But if you’ve got a professional who’s in that role, they’re going to be able to adapt to situations with other humans more effectively.

Clare: Yeah, and sometimes maybe just taking it away from the social situation. So, you know, you might be dealing with a problem about your car or your handbag and a human obviously is going to have a certain protocol that they have to follow that maybe they need to order a new one or there’s going to be a delay, etc. And obviously, you’re going to be talking about that. But it’s all the little things we do around the side being British, talking about the weather maybe, or just understanding that person as a person, that human centered approach. And not because you’re reading from a script like, oh, this must be very challenging for you. You know, it’s just, yeah, having that empathy, that human to human touch is very important. And I think humans are very, very good at reading when it’s not authentic.

Greg: Oh yeah. See straight through it.

Clare: Yeah, absolutely.

Greg: So chat bots and things like that for a long time have struggled to take off because yeah, they can be great tools of information, but at the moment human emotional needs are not met. Frustration builds like immediately.

Clare: So yeah and frustration aggression theory says that’s a popcorn model isn’t it. It’s just the moment you get frustrated aggression is not very far behind. Yeah.

Greg: Yeah that’s very true.

Marcell: Some thing fascinating that Clare does with seventh Sense is going further than just qualitative research into actually quantifying the emotions of the people they study in these different scenarios. I’m curious, what methodology does she use to achieve that and how does Seventh Sense make use of their complex research to craft better customer journeys?

Clare: Well, let’s say, for example, with luxury products, there’s a whole emotional sense that you experience when you have a luxury product. The way in which that you sensorily communicate and feel about that product is something that we can actually measure with biofeedback. So if you’re going into a store and you’re experiencing the smell of the store, the touch of the leather. And the sensory experience, as well as the emotional experience of buying the product is really part of brand perception. And a lot of brands work with us, either automotive companies or luxury brands to help understand what that brand perception is with their clients, with their customers, because that gives them a competitive advantage. If you can tap in to how someone feels when they hold your product, our methodology is we can use biofeedback so we can have EEG monitors, we could have facial analysis. That’s something that I’m exploring at the moment. So being able to actually sort of look at people’s facial movements while they’re looking at your products online.

Marcell: Yeah. Like all the tiny different changes.

Clare: That’s right yeah. And obviously you can see where their eyes are, but also their facial interactions tell us a lot about human emotions. But then we follow that up with traditional methodologies. We’re not ripping everything up. You know, we ask people, we’re human, we can communicate what we feel, but what we think we feel and how our bodies respond can actually be quite separate. And so we give that biofeedback by saying, did you know that this is how your body was reacting? Why do you think that might be? Or what were your thoughts, and what happens is people then become a bit more introspective and they tend to tell you the first thing. It’s a bit like going to the doctor. You tend to say, oh, it’s this, it’s that. And then just before you leave, you go, oh, actually I’ve got this really bad problem here. People often don’t tell you the first thing that is the problem. They either want to be polite or they they feel like it wasn’t actually that significant. But if you can give them that feedback, like it’s really interesting because while you’re actually touching that your body was was reacting and this way. They then might say, ah, well it did remind me of a time and, and that’s not something you’re going to get when you just ask people to fill in a questionnaire. You know, it’s those levels, that nuance of understanding human emotion. And, you know, my first degree was in sociology. I’m a psychologist. You know, I find it all fascinating. I actually love talking to people about the way they interact with products.

Marcell: And do you have any other findings that you’ve had through your research where it’s just something you didn’t expect to find that how people respond emotionally, like in a luxury or an automotive environment?

Clare: It’s a sort of it’s linked to remote operation in transport. But I did a study over in San Francisco with a company that were doing remote operation of forklifts. And one of the things that I found really interesting and I think, you know, wasn’t specific to the forklift element, is that operators will find ways around the tech to ensure what they want. So the human factors element of how we interact with machines. So human machine interaction, that is fascinating. So I wouldn’t say it’s revolutionary because whether it’s the smallest bit of tech that we now see is really old. People would always find the most efficient way to get around how to use it. And I mean a key point that loads of people often trot out is that people who are gamers would make really good remote operators because they’re used to wearing the VR headset and, you know, spending hours online because it’s actually really hard to wear the headset. They’re not very comfortable. Like most of my participants were really complaining after about 15 minutes because it can hurt your nose. The one I was using with all the eye tracking is a bit heavier than just a standard gaming one. But people say, why don’t we get gamers to to do the remote operation? And the reason is why you don’t is because gamers gamify everything! One of the key things you do.

Greg: Look for the hacks.

Clare: Look for the hack, right? It’s the objective. It’s like, get there. It’s not get there safely. Get there doing all these training protocols that your company need to have in place so that they don’t get sued. They’re like, oh, no, no, no. I didn’t do any of that because that was very, very boring. And, you know, I found a much quicker, efficient way of doing it. And so gamers are by nature unconventional. And so they perhaps don’t necessarily make the best operators that we need to act in a very regulated and predictable way. So yeah. And your question about the luxury element as well, I think one of the findings that again is sort of from a human factors or human perspective is the stories that people attach to their items and their products. I think that is something that very few companies are really understanding that narrative that goes alongside owning a luxury product. You know what that means or doesn’t mean. You know, if you’re a high net worth individual, you might not attach certain feelings of worth to the types of items that someone who’s saved for years to get a Hermes handbag or something like that. But it doesn’t mean that you’re careless of the quality or the artisanship that went into to making that product. And so whether it’s a luxury vehicle, the types of work that goes into understanding, just like the sound of a door, click that to me, I’m like oooh.

Greg: In the car world. That’s big, isn’t it? I’ve seen whole videos of people are comparing like when shutting a door. This car versus this car versus this car. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a sign of quality or something.

Clare: Well, that’s it. My favorite makeup brand is Chanel. And their lipsticks have a push shut case. And when you click sound] it’s the feeling, the sense of luxury just in that moment you don’t just pull the top off. You know it’s just this shift and that’s what I mean, it’s a sensory and it’s an emotional journey.

Greg: Obviously, you’re measuring people’s emotional reactions to situations. And in that situation, it’s them interpreting their personal interpretation of the brand or the product. A lot of people buy things because of how they think other people are going to see them. How do you quantify that? Is it possible to do that?

Clare: Certain techniques. So I saw a great one that was a project that I didn’t work on, but before I came to Seventh Sense that they’d called heroes and villains, and it was all to do with a new sort of vehicle. And it was like, let’s imagine that this vehicle is a hero and all the other vehicles are villains. And so it was like a whole mood board kind of situation where people have to cut things out and they have to, like stick them on different mood boards and create a character for this new vehicle. And they’re the hero. And what’s the perception of the hero and what’s the perception of these other cars of the villain? And then you switch it. You say now it’s the villain. You wouldn’t necessarily attribute those kind of human emotions to a car instinctively. But when you think about how cars are marketed, it is about like, this one’s the bad one, this one’s the luxury one, this one’s the naughty one. You know, the Ford car? Yeah, that little one in Germany. So in the UK we’d had a load of adverts where basically the car was seen as like a naughty car. And so there was a cat walking past and it had sprayed the cat with its windshield wiper and everyone loved it. It was very, very funny. But the German market were like, We love our animals. And so this would not be funny, this would not go down well.

Clare: And so they would literally change all of the advertising because they felt that Germans wouldn’t laugh at this cat. And obviously English people were like, that is hilarious. But what happens and this is an example as the reason it made me think of it, because one of the things we can do is social listening. So I’ll say that story. What they found was that all of a sudden in an era sort of early 90s and something called YouTube was becoming quite popular. You’ve heard of it, you might have heard of it. And basically they suddenly realised that everybody was sharing these adverts on YouTube and the Germans were absolutely loving it. They thought it was hilarious. So they did see so they thought there was going to be like a really negative perception of their brand. But then they almost, I suppose it’s like guerilla advertising, isn’t it? Like people did actually share it. And so that’s the answer really to your insight question. We can listen online to billions of posts and texts and YouTube sharing and we can understand the hidden sentiment behind what people think of your product and how they’re talking about it with each other and you know how they talk about it in different contexts. And we can set up social listening around marketing campaigns or just to understand like the perception of your brand and how people resonate with it and understand it.

Marcell: Brands like Patagonia go so far to implement complete organisational shifts with the aim of making a real positive impact on the world, and people follow them as a result. Their focus on corporate social responsibility creates a true emotional connection with the brand. And there are big changes happening in the automotive industry too, especially with the move to electric cars. So how does Clare’s work on autonomous vehicles play into that?

Clare: Certainly the current climate. We were talking earlier about sort of climate issues in Europe, the fact that many automotive companies are moving to EV brands and also with the self-driving cars, you know, that it’s seen as promoting sustainability. But self-driving cars actually they’re not that great for the environment themselves. You know, the compute on board requires a lot of energy. And so although they’re electric and connected and we can have fewer of them on the road, when I’ve gone and spoken to younger people about my work, their responses are very, very different. They’re like, We don’t think any cars should be on the road. I’m not looking for an automated solution. And again, going back to the Driving the Future study, that’s one of the things that we’re going to really ask about this wave, thinking about this autonomous future, this shared and connected electric future. Does this fit in with your ideas of climate, carbon emissions and sustainability and really trying to tap in a little bit to the generational reactions to this type of transport solution that we think is removing that internal combustion engine necessity. But they’re like, we should just get rid of cars. Yeah. You know, which obviously a lot of our clients do not want to hear. That’s not the message and that’s not the answer. But understanding that and like you say, understanding what your brand can do to offset those worries of that generation particularly, but trying to make things that aren’t just knee jerk reactions to greenwash your brand.

Greg: Yeah, exactly. Like corporate social responsibility has been a thing for a long time. The brands that seem to have had most result from implementing those are the ones that truly commit to it. They just sort of burn the bridges and they say, right, we’re going to go this way and this is what our brand is going to be. And then people follow. Yeah, Patagonia is a good example, but like they just they just commit to it and they really make it happen. And then people do follow. It might take time and it’s risky, but they follow.

Clare: I guess they have the name and the brand already. I think it’s difficult for you know, I speak to a lot of startups in this domain. Yeah, of course, quite frequently they already have that integrity and commitment personally. But in your supply chain, how do you not use people that are buying things from countries that have very high emissions? So it’s trying to sort of take that all the way through your suppliers as well as just who you’re using. And I’m not sure I don’t know Patagonia’s supply chain, but it’s a real challenge financially to make that commitment and stick to it. So I can understand why it’s hard.

Greg: Technology is there to obviously create a connection between a brand and an organisation. But what tends to leave the real long term brand image is when humans meet humans. That really is where the magic can happen or not. And then like, that’s why those sort of studies I think are so important because you get to see all those tiny nuances that that you’re never really going to see if you’re even if you are tracking activity across a website or across a mobile app, you’re going to see behaviors. But when humans meet, something happens. And it could be that person’s normally the best salesperson that they have. But today they’ve had an off day, you know what I mean? They got out on the wrong side of the bed.

Clare: But also trying to test humans, you know. So when I was saying about recently we were doing the drive test because you’re on a test track, you have to have a certain amount of safety elements. So you have to have a trained driver also there. You then have a moderator who’s asking the respondent questions and asking them to do different maneuvers. You want to understand where the person is looking and how they’re interacting with the product and elements of the car that are under investigation. But they always look at other people like we are obsessed with looking at other contact contact, looking at faces. So first of all, if you’re driving, bad idea, look at the road. Don’t look at the people in the car, particularly the person hiding. You know, we’re like, where should we put this person? So there will be as unobtrusive as possible. And then when I turned up, so I mean, I’m very, very small, so I’m like five foot. Everyone it seemed at this test track was over six foot five, right? So it’s like, where am I going to put this six foot five German in the car that they are going to not be looked at by my participant, You know, So these are the very human elements with trying to study humans, you know, so you want to approach it scientifically.

Clare: But the reality is humans look at other humans. If you do eye tracking of paintings, you’ll always get the biggest heat in the areas that have people. If it’s a you know, I could tell you all about the sort of neuroscience of why we look at faces and why we see faces in clouds and all stuff like that. But essentially we are evolutionarily adapted. To look at each other to pick up communication, social interaction, cues that is very nature of being human. And like you say, we need to tap into that when we’re trying to sell to humans and not just on a commercial or a capitalist to actually help understand why might this product make you feel a certain way and why shouldn’t it? You know, we could say lots of political things about capitalism at this point. Let’s not go there. But understanding how the sentimental feel of something you own is more than just because it looks good or because someone else has it and doesn’t have it. It also could tap right back to your childhood or, you know, the moment you were able to buy something, etc. So I believe in in understanding that. Yeah.

Marcell: But you’ve also mentioned like how obviously sometimes humans are just unpredictable and you can’t actually tell what they’re going to do, how they’re going to react, how they’re going to feel to an extent we can measure, you know, like you said, you’re able to quantify human emotion and stuff like that. And the industries you work with, you know, luxury automotive are very much sensory experiences. Do you think there’s still value in using human emotion to shape a customer journey in other industries, maybe like banking or places where there’s maybe less interaction? Do you think it’s still really important?

Clare: Yeah, I think particularly with banking, money is an item, but money also has a sensory element, like what money can buy and how money feels and you know, and the range of human emotions like some people feel disgust and revulsion around money. You know, they’re very rejecting of it. And other people, they want it. It’s like a sort of envy, you know, all the seven deadly sins or whatever. And so really, at the heart of understanding emotions with, let’s say, banking, it could be linked to security, the hierarchy of needs, the money and having money and preparing like to be able to buy a house or to be able to leave an inheritance for your children. There’s an emotion in that that’s very human and very much about our needs and love and security. So I think that psychology is vital.

Marcell: Thanks all for listening. I’ve been Marcell, and I hope you had a good time. Let us know what you thought by continuing the conversation with us on LinkedIn at CX Insider Podcast or by commenting on the video below. While you’re down there, why not like share and subscribe for more of Insider’s Best content and I’ll see you again in two weeks. But in the meantime, stay customer centric. And by the way, this podcast is sponsored by the Global Leader in CX Software ACF Technologies.

Marcell: Can you recall what the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten is?

Clare: Never let them see you cry.

Clare: It’s that whole thing of like, we are emotional people. We’re humans. This idea of that you should be like a robot, You know, I work with robots. I’m human. And that’s what’s good about me.

Marcell: What about the best piece of advice?

Clare: I don’t know. That’s a really good question. What was the best? I don’t I don’t feel like people gave me much advice. Clearly really struggling.

Greg: Too busy arguing with your brothers and sisters?

Clare: Yeah, that’s it. Maybe. Maybe my advice would be listen to advice, Clare. Um. This is just such a good piece of advice. It was stop saying I believe at the start of questions. We know you believe it so why are you telling us?

Marcell: Yeah.

Clare: It was just such great writing advice, you know, I think I believe or we believe, you know. We know. So just so really cutting down on your writing and just having the information, you know, make the point. Get to the point.

Marcell:  Strongest statement. Yeah.

Clare: Actually, I think I do remember my dad saying get to the point. Clare. So that was probably my advice.

Marcell: Links togheter.

Clare: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Probably could be the theme of this podcast.

Marcell: Get to the point.

Clare: Get to the point [laughs].

Marcell: Do you prefer summer or winter?

Clare: Excellent question. I prefer winter for the clothes and summer for being outside.

Marcell: Perfect. Same. Would you rather lose your sight or your memories?

Clare: Well, my brothers and sisters say that I’m a memory stealer, so if I lost my memories, I could just steal everybody else.

Marcell: What does that mean?

Clare: I supposedly remember things that happened to them, Right? Which isn’t true. I mean, I’m a psychologist. I’ve studied memory. I understand. About memory and how it’s a process where sometimes we incorporate other people’s information, like post-event information. But I can always give evidence as to why I know it was me. You can imagine this is quite a contentious subject in our family. So I would rather lose my memories because I can just steal other people’s.

Speaker4: Fair enough.

Greg: One other quick question then I had is what was it like growing up with six siblings?

Clare: Hard work. But I think that’s probably what they would say about growing up with me. Do you know it teaches you the value of your voice And all of us have a very, very strong sense of fair play. And I think that came from my parents having to govern. Between the top end and the bottom end and all the arguments in between, it definitely was certainly an experience growing up. And as a family, we’re very strong and very committed to each other. So that’s great. There have been a few issues over the years and knowing that you’ve got all that back. Yeah, yeah, it’s good.

Marcell: That’s cool. You have an interesting surname as well. Where where does that come from?

Clare: Mutzenich, that’s my married surname. So my husband’s family are German, but he’s Australian. But I realised I think we’d been dating for four years before we got married and I had to learn how to say it on my honeymoon. Realised just not said it for four years.

Greg: That’s funny.

Clare: It is. Yes. High German. I’ve been told by an old student.

Marcell: Okay, what’s your favorite drink? It can be alcoholic or otherwise. Or both.

Clare: Again, it does make a difference where you are. So if you’re like on holiday sitting by a harbour, it’s got to be a beer. But most of the time it’s probably champagne, but then definitely red wine because I was an au pair in France, it makes a difference as well, like the glass that you have it in as well. So yeah, I’m quite a sensory person.

Greg: Yeah.

Marcell: Nice. Okay. Do you have any stories of when you’ve had a really awful experience as a customer? What made you feel really bad about an interaction with a company? You don’t have to name them.

Clare: I will name them.

Marcell: Okay. Oh, yeah.

Clare: So before I was getting married, I was like, I’m going to buy a handmade bra from Rigby and Peller. So I was like, It’s going to be, you know, my wedding. I’m going to wear a beautiful underwear. Et cetera. And so I was like, I made an appointment. And in my mind, I was going into this back room. They were going to give me like a glass of champagne and we were going to look at swatches and fabrics and we were going to craft this beautiful bra. And I’d really like bought into this whole experience before I even got there, you know, understanding. And I mean, there are like £700 to £1000, you know, to have this custom made bra. And so I was like, Right, you know, I’m going to really enjoy this. And went to the store in Knightsbridge so angry about it. If she still works there, I hope she gets fired. But literally I got there and when I went in, no one even looked at me. It’s actually quite a little store. So I think probably there were better stores that I could have picked, but I thought Knightsbridge would be the one. And so eventually when someone looked up, I said, I’ve got an appointment and I thought, now it will start like now. Now this experience will start. And they said, Oh, right. And then again very little sort of just got left standing there. I sort of moved a few bras, looked at, you know, what’s what’s happening. And then they said, Oh, we think there might be a problem. You’ve gone for the custom bra. And it was literally like one of those pretty woman scenes. They were like, they’re very expensive. And I was like, I know they’re very expensive because that’s why I booked it. And so then they were like, okay, fine. And then they basically just took me into one of the changing rooms. To measure me. Being measured from a bra is not a great experience. Like it’s not really luxury. And then the girl had a snotty tissue in her sleeve and she kept pulling out and blowing her nose and then pushing the snotty tissue. So you can imagine how far I have fallen now in my imaginary expectations. And now I’m just thinking this woman’s going to give me a cold. Basically, I did not buy.

Greg: I was going to ask, did you.

Clare: Buy. No, No, I did not.

Clare: The investment before you’ve even got there, you may have this idea in your mind of how it’s going to be. And like you said, everyone can have a bad day. Clearly, this woman had a cold, but from the moment I stepped in the store, the whole experience certainly wasn’t going to be worth the money, but it also wasn’t wrapped up in anything special. So maybe fine. You know, they sell a lot of those kind of bras, but there’s no reason why, when it was my day to buy that bra, it couldn’t have been that great day.

Marcell: Yeah, especially for such a big event. Obviously you want that. Yeah. Did you get a cold for your wedding day?

Clare: I didn’t. I’m very healthy. There’s no way I would get a cold.

Marcell: Okay.

Greg: I feel like every premium brand needs to watch pretty woman because because they need to understand that scenario is iconic for how you should never treat someone.