How Customers Make Decisions

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In this day and age, we like to think of ourselves as educated consumers who make decisions logically after shopping around and weighing pros and cons. However, is it really true? Everybody can recall instances of purchasing something they absolutely didn’t need just because they wanted it. And if shops line the checkouts with chocolate snacks, it is because ‘impulse buying’ is alive and well and our decision-making process isn’t as logical as we would like it to be.

On the one hand, our rational system of thinking wants us to base our decisions on facts and reasoning, while our intuitive system is all about emotion and instinct and, for better or worse, it often has the upper hand as, very simply, it is an easier way of making a decision. Then, all there is left to do is a bit of housekeeping to bend the facts so that our decision looks perfectly sensible in our eyes!

Another way we make decisions is by using heuristics, a problem-solving technique based on previous experiences. Let’s say for example that you have to decide whether to take the train or drive somewhere. You remember that the last few times you drove, you got stuck in traffic jams and had trouble finding a place to park at your destination. When you took the train, it arrived on time and the journey was stress free, so you decide to take the train.

Our brain takes a shortcut and assumes that how things happened is indicative of the future. Although, logically, it doesn’t make much sense, it delivers pretty good results most of the time.

The lesson we can draw from those two examples is that we will favour non-rational decision-making because it is less tiring and quicker. So, as a company, you want to embrace that principle and make life as easy as possible for your customers.

Whether it is through your website or your contact centre, you want to make sure that your customers don’t have to work too hard to get where they want to be, or you will risk losing them. Also remember that one unsatisfactory experience can easily lead to generalisation and drive them away from your brand for good.

If you would like to understand your customers better and deliver outstanding service, talk to us about contact centre solutions through out online form or by calling us on 0800 230 000.

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