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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

384. The Hidden Tax of Sludge in Business (Refreshed Episode)

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, Melina Palmer delves into the concept of sludge in business processes, shedding light on unnecessary barriers that hinder customers and internal operations. Drawing from her deep understanding of behavioral economics and cognitive psychology, Melina provides practical insights and real-world examples to demonstrate the impact of sludge on customer satisfaction, employee morale, and overall efficiency. 

With a focus on creating brain-friendly environments, she offers actionable strategies and resources for businesses to streamline processes and eliminate sludge, making it easier for people to engage with their products and services. Melina’s expertise and engaging approach make the complex topic of sludge accessible and applicable for business owners and managers seeking to enhance efficiency, reduce friction, and improve customer experience. This episode serves as a valuable resource for those looking to optimize decision-making processes and drive success within their organizations.

In this episode:

  • Understand how sludge in business processes impacts your bottom line.
  • Improve customer satisfaction by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles in operations.
  • Quantify the costs of unnecessary barriers and optimize your resources.
  • Leverage behavioral economics to enhance efficiency and productivity in your business.
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HERE'S A 2 MINUTE TIP.

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SHOW NOTES:

00:00:00 – Introduction
Melina introduces the concept of sludge and its impact on decision-making and processes in business and everyday life.

00:05:18 – Effects of Sludge
Melina explains the pervasive nature of sludge and its detrimental effects on economic growth, public health, education, and equality. She provides examples of sludge in various contexts, including financial aid, healthcare, and voting.

00:11:44 – Understanding Sludge
Melina delves into the characteristics of sludge, including waiting time, reporting burdens, administrative requirements, and transaction costs. She emphasizes that sludge is not always a negative force and can sometimes be necessary or beneficial.

00:12:29 – Quantifying Sludge
Melina discusses the challenges of quantifying sludge and differentiating it from other transaction costs and administrative burdens. She highlights the importance of understanding the real impact of sludge to effectively address and remove it in business processes.

00:14:18 – Importance of Removing Sludge
Melina explains the significance of removing sludge in business processes, using Amazon’s one-click buying as an example of the value of reducing friction in the customer experience. She encourages businesses to assess the potential value of removing sludge from their processes.

00:15:29 – The Impact of Sludge in the Buying Process
In the buying process, extra fields and steps act as partitions that make people evaluate if it’s worth it or not. Businesses often add unnecessary questions that lead to lost sales and missed opportunities.

00:17:38 – Focus on Micro Moments and Necessary Information
Focusing on each micro moment and asking only what’s necessary can help remove sludge. For example, simplifying the discovery call form to just name and email can lead to more conversions.

00:19:32 – Examples of Sludge in Business Operations
Sludge is not just limited to customer interactions but can also be present in back-office operations. This can include complicated decisions, too many choices, and unnecessary procedures that waste time and money.

00:24:20 – Trust and Sludge in the Back Office
Trusting employees can reduce sludge and improve efficiency. When unnecessary procedures and processes are eliminated, more work gets done for less money. Trust and removing sludge go hand in hand in the back office.

00:25:11 – Quantifying the Cost of Sludge
Quantifying the cost of sludge can help justify the need for its removal. The example of TSA Precheck demonstrates how quantifying the time saved and its monetary value can show the benefits of removing sludge.

00:30:45 – Conclusion
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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