Here’s the biggest reason customers won’t commit to a product, service or company.
Specifically, they’re afraid of a loss.
Break it down
When customers make decisions about doing business with a company, they stand to lose one of four things: money, time, effort or credibility.
Sure, they’re going to have to part with money if they want a product, service or experience. And yes, it will take some time and effort.
But the thought that prevents them from choosing or continuing to do business with a company is that they won’t get what they put into it.
So they balk. Or they pull back. Or they just stop doing business because somewhere the experience fell short of their expectations for a gain — and they felt or feared they’ll feel a loss.
Fortunately, you can keep customers happy and in a relationship with your company by addressing their loss aversion head-on.
Here’s how, according to Bri Williams, a buying behavior expert and managing director of People Patterns:
This could be the loss they fear the most because it’s the most tangible. They want to see a serious return on their investment — a great product, an outstanding experience, a lifetime of pleasure and/or service better than any other. Customers don’t want to be convinced to put money down, then not get what they expect.
Make it happen: Anyone at any time in the customer experience has the ability to cut customers’ fear or sense of financial loss. It starts with company policies, such as money back guarantees, lifetime warranties and promises to stand by your products. From there, employees who work directly with customers need to have the authority and willingness to follow through on the policies.
Customers don’t want to waste time. And doing business takes time, which can feel like wasted time — especially if they’re dealing with errors or disappointments. They want processes that are streamlined, wait times that are small or non-existent and deliveries that are seamless.
Make it happen: Let customers know what to expect along their journey. Customers feel their time is most wasted or lost when they expect things to happen faster than you can deliver. But if they know how long your sign-up, delivery process, responses, etc., usually take, they won’t be disappointed. Of course, everything should be done on par with or better than your industry.
Customers have to make some effort to obtain or maintain relationships with businesses. But they don’t want to make major mental efforts finding, researching or comparing you. They don’t want to make major physical efforts getting in touch, visiting, clicking pages or filling out forms to do business with you, either.
Make it happen: You want to reduce customer effort at every point in their experiences. Regularly review your processes to find steps to cut out. Reduce the amount of information you require to make a purchase. Slash the amount of copy and number of clicks on your website. Eliminate contact points so they have one-stop help. Clean up your communication by cutting jargon and acronyms. Define the typical journey so customers know what to expect — and tell you if they think it’s too much.
No one wants to lose face with colleagues, family and/or friends. And a bad business or consumer decision, when things go worse than expected or go all wrong, can make them feel less credible to their peers.
Make it happen: You want to build strong, confident relationships with customers so you and they feel sure the right decisions are made. Let customers know your company’s qualifications. Listen closely to their needs before guiding them toward a solution. Recognize that sometimes you aren’t the best solution, and be willing to steer them toward another that might not be you. That builds credibility for both of you in the future.