American citizens had recently a choice to make: it is the prerogative of democracy! However, is the choice really desirable in all cases? Is it an added value for our companies or, in the context of the company, for our customers?
In this article, I will share some results of studies related to human psychology. By better understanding the functioning of a human facing a decision, you will be able to make your customers’ lives easier, by offering them the opportunity to choose the right thing at the right time! !
A limited number of choices each day
Do you remember how Steve Jobs dressed? Jeans and a black T-shirt. Simple, no question to ask in the morning, no decision to take. Our brain is very powerful, but faced with a multitude of choices, it can saturate. We have limited decision-making potential every day. That’s why we hesitate or get tired at the end of a day. Democracy, based on the free will (therefore free choice) of each, lets us think that choosing is good. That is true! But to some extent, offering too many futile choices to a person, does not come to help him.
Several studies have been done on the subject. Social psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on interactions between humans and behaviors influenced by others. Like all science, it is based on experiences. In one of them, researchers evaluated the impact of choice on buying behavior. In a store, customers were offered to taste a jam from a selection of 3, others from a selection of 15. In conclusion, those who had the least choice bought more jam than the others! Why ? Risk aversion. With 15 varieties, the risk of being wrong is greater than with just three options. As a result, the decision is more difficult to make and as a result, the individual prefers not to make a decision. The decision being too difficult, the customer then turns to a non-choice, which is somehow a default choice.
The art of simplifying the life of your customers
In the different interactions with your customers, how many decisions do you ask them to make? How many decisions are really important? How many options do you offer them? Do 15 car paint colors add value? Would a selection of 5 colors suffice?
Are your clients leaning toward non-choice? For example, if your opt-in rate is very low, is it because customers refuse this option? Maybe they simply do not want to make a decision! Faced with this problem, you could adopt the opposite approach of prescribing a choice that can be refused (opt-out) rather than offering a choice to opt-in. You could potentially go from a 10% membership rate to a 10% refusal rate (and therefore 90% membership).
For example, Health Canada prescribes that brown bread (or wholemeal bread) is better than white for health. Instead of offering the choice to the customer (white or brown bread?), if all the restaurants suggested brown bread, leaving the choice to refuse for white, then probably the consumption of brown bread would increase. In the end, it is the general satisfaction of the customers that would increase, because they would be confronted with a less choice in their daily life..
The choice must be helpful, not a lure or a false sense of freedom, which prevents clients from focusing on the most important choices in their lives.