[Guest blog by Anna Eggleton, Managing Partner and Head of Service Branding]

This is the third in a series of posts on making your customer experience more distinctive, looking at how to segment pleasure and combine pain. Behavioural science shows us that we experience pleasure and pain in different ways. When it comes to pleasure, we prefer "little and often". Most of us prefer to win $5 twice, rather than $10 in one gamble. In contrast, we prefer getting all the pain over in one go. So, back at the casino, a single $10 loss hurts less than two $5 hits.

Smart service brands create propositions that capitalise on this principle and make these moments distinctive, thus turning them into brand properties.

1. Segment pleasure like a cruise line

Cruise ships are experts at segmenting pleasure. They pack as many events as possible into one short holiday. So, you are piped on board like a VIP. On your first night you have dinner at the Captain's table. The next night you have the cocktail evening. Even having three small swimming pools rather than one big one feels like you're getting more for your money.

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2. Combine the pain like Apple

In our increasingly online lives most of us have experienced the hair-pullingly frustrating moment when you can't remember your password to log in. Then, when it comes to buy something your credit card is downstairs in the kitchen, not in the home office. One of the most important parts of the Apple business model is the Apple ID. This ID, linked to your credit card details, combines in one sign-up all the pain for buying music, downloading books, buying a new iphone and streaming a movie.

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3. Deliver a double whammy like Universal Studios

You can see both parts of the pleasure/pain process in all their glory at the Univeral Studios theme park. The rides are really short. That’s done primarily so that more people can get on them, but this efficiency has the added benefit of segmenting the pleasure, which in turn creates the perception of a longer and richer day at the theme park. From the customer’s point of view, two 90-second rides last longer than one three-minute ride. And paying for a "Front of Line pass" is a single moment of pain that hits your credit card that combines all the hassle of queuing. You smugly show the card and walk past the mile-long queue to jump on the ride, meaning you can multiply even further the moments of pleasure.

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In conclusion, segmenting the pleasure and combining pain is a great way of creating dinstinctive service properties.