What is Desire Code?

Percentages, patient numbers, population data, needs, profiles, objectives, performance indicators, budgets… pick up a story about healthcare in the newspaper, on the TV or online and you’ll likely be reading about one or a combination of those. Open up any health promotion literature or read a poster in your GP waiting room and you’ll probably be met with data and numbers relating to prevalence, risk and illness. But what if people don’t have an instinctive understanding of numbers.

What drives decisions around how we access and use services and decide on what we should do and how we best take care of ourselves? How can we develop emotional health and care systems – that help people when they are in pain, anxious, confused and upset? Behavioural insight is a relatively new stream of psychological research which shines a light on how people subconsciously apply some basic rules-of-thumb to making decisions under uncertainty, and how they are attracted to messages and behaviours presented in particular ways.

Desire Code sets out to unpick these principles and provide a practical framework for applying them to create more attractive and efficient services.

This approach is not limited to health and care services either. Any service that is designed to help people change their behaviour and make more informed decisions can benefit from applying the Desire Code; from education, environmental services, transport, retail, hospitality, sport and leisure.

By more desirable, we're not talking about 'need' but ‘want’. The business cases for many services are built upon the outcome of a needs analysis yet they don’t always manage to create the demand that would make them sustainable; they aren't desirable enough or presented in an appealing way. Other services, such as A&E for example, are so well designed to cater for what people want (rather than need), that they are overrun.

To make services the most efficient they need to deliver to the people who need them most. Desire Code is a framework that aims to raise demand for services amongst the people who actually need them.

Benefits to you of using the desire code approach

  • Learn how to really place your customers at the heart of your organisation. This isn’t just what you say in the first page of your service plan, but a sincere, real, human-centered focus that takes what we know about real people, how they make decisions, how they are motivated, and what attracts them to services and products, and apply that to what you do.
  • Help you attract, retain and delight more customers, thereby raising demand for what you do and enabling you to deliver more cost effective services
  • Enjoy better outcomes for your customers by enjoying greater engagement with them, whether that be in healthy lifestyle behaviour (such as weight loss and smoking cessation), other aspects of health and care (including self care and adherance to medication), or services such as education and learning, recycling and safety.
  • Provide a solid framework for incremental improvement towards an excellent customer service.
  • Create happier employees, who will enjoy implementing the ideas you generate as a result of applying this framework, which will translate into even better customer care.
  • Provide you with a framework for readily developing strategies, business plans and personal development plans for employees.
  • Enable you to stand out in the eyes of your customers against other services and competitors.
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