Behavioural Insights

How a deeper understanding of human behaviour can transform your business

Most complex business problems boil down to human behaviour. Ultimately, how people behave strongly influences how products, services, and organizational processes are designed and how stakeholders embrace them. That’s where behavioural insights comes into the picture.

As emerging threats and opportunities transform the business landscape, organizations that harness the power of applied behavioural science to understand what drives customers and employees to think or act the way they do will prevail.

Through behavioural insights (i.e. applied behavioural science), we can see how we don’t always make decisions in a rational and calculated way. We often use thought processes that are intuitive and intuition-driven rather than deliberative and planned.

You can’t force people to be more rational, but by recognizing the power of personalization and anticipating cognitive biases using behavioural science and data analytics, you can design targeted, cost-effective interventions that nudge people toward better decisions and behaviours. It’s about addressing the inefficiencies that stand between you and the best outcomes for your organization and stakeholders.

Gallup research shows that companies applying behavioural insights principles outperformed peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin during a one-year period.

What are behavioural insights

PwC’s behavioral insights practice looks at using the science and knowledge of human behaviour to decide how to solve problems in order to get the best outcome for customers, employees and citizens. In the digital era, many businesses are faced with disruption from new and emerging technologies. While this innovation is exciting and is changing how we work it’s only part of the equation.  

Your people and processes are key to successful business transformation but are often overlooked. The value of truly understanding human behaviour across your organization is imperative to setting up your organization for success.

Our behavioural toolkit uses the power of applied science and data driven insights from reality to help you work towards your strategic initiatives.


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PwC's behavioural insights practice consists of researchers, strategists, and designers who specialize in applying the science of human behaviour to solving business problems. Our Canadian practice is part of PwC's integrated, global network of applied behavioural science teams.

We work across multiple contexts and industries, but recent projects include helping organizations in banking, wealth management, insurance, utilities, retail, not-for-profit, and government sectors.

Our team of applied scientists works alongside industry and competency specialists to combine the best of subject matter expertise, empirical rigor, and practical market insights. 

Our offerings fall into three broad categories:

  • Strategy: Understanding the drivers of consumer decision making and creating new value propositions, products / services, and operating models to capitalize on those insights.
  • Transformation: Supporting the human side of transformation with targeted, empirically rigorous interventions that move the needle on adoption of new technologies / processes and help secure ROI.
  • Optimization: Improve existing products, services, and experiences to increase revenue, engagement, or conversion.

Businesses are facing issues around:

  • leveraging customer data 
  • increasing employee engagement
  • reimagining customer experience
  • enabling technology adoption and integration
  • delivering personalized experiences
  • streamlining and optimizing policies, procedures, and journeys

Below we have listed some of the ways in which we have used behavioural insights to help customers solve these problems and others.

Case studies

We have over 50 Canadian case studies and many more globally.

Highlights include:

  • We redesigned digital communication campaigns with customers to build their financial literacy on complex financial products, and encourage enrollment in short term savings by more than 400%.
  • We reimagined the claims management process to build tools that alleviate customer anxiety while reducing phone channel volumes by over 90%.
  • We reimagined an online platform to build customer understanding of complex insurance products, help navigate options to ensure long term wellbeing, and boost commitment to purchasing a policy by 300%.
  • We redesigned and implemented a digital commerce app, uncovering key moments of truth with customers which allowed us to embed nudges that improved their experience, and resulted in a 1250% increase in transaction volume.
  • We conducted a behavioural segmentation to support a redesign of debt communications to support and increase customers' on-time payments by 380% (by the third communication), resulting in a $2.1m reduction in bad debt.
  • We behaviourally diagnosed and identified interventions that could be used to improve rates of technology adoption for employees, increasing their productivity by over 145%.

Related insights


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Contact us

Alex Henderson

Director, Behavioural Insights Practice Lead, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 400 5631

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