Understanding Customer Psychology
We all have gone through a number of jitters since our early days of life when we did not get what we expected. Didn't we?
Think of the day when you lost quite-a-fair-chance of sitting beside the person you liked, on the chair to the right corner, amongst your choice of friends, and listen to your most favorite playlist. It hurt.
It’s not that you can’t cope with strangers and new places but you are more comfortable and relaxed when among the known and loved ones. This is human psychology. That’s why we have a room of our own, fixed and strong.
Perceptions and practical experiences shape human psyche. If they match, it brings happiness.
Brands are very closely associated with human emotions. Hence they must emit positive emotions around. Human by its very nature is averse to negative emotions.
Do you know someone who is happy in periods of low? If your answer is yes then you must know someone who is either a super positive person or a lunatic, least affected by highs and lows.
In general, we all like good things to happen in our lives all the time, visiting new and good places, eating good food, hanging around with good friends, getting a good salary, and eventually leading a very happy and peaceful life full of good things.
The first step towards building a brand is to associate it with positive emotions. A positive impression sits for a long time in a customer’s mind. This doesn’t create an indelible mark but leads to Brand Inertia, for sure. This makes people revisit places, search for the same things as they bought before, and go with a brand for a long time.
Therefore, you might have marked, there are a lot of people with fixed brands of shirt, shoes, shop, and salon. They feel happy with their chosen brands. And moreover, it’s easy for customers to be associated with the fixed brands.
Every time you get into your favourite food joint, you don’t have to taste to know but rather you already know the taste and you love it. This is the benefit of brand inertia and all those positive emotions and impressions that have gone into creating brand inertia in customers. Most brand loyalty is nothing but brand inertia.
Brand Inertia and Brand Loyalty
Nothing is permanent in the world, so also brand inertia and brand loyalty.
Why should people be hooked onto one brand for a long time?
Why should not they try different and new?
A better personal experience, a better product experience, or even a demanding situation can put both brand inertia and loyalty into a complete comatose state.
You have over-worked a day and wanted a fag break. Went out to the shop you always visit, asked for your brand of cigarette. On its unavailability in the shop, what will you prefer to do: break your loyalty with the shop or that with the cigarette? You need to break at least one.
Hence, people are actually not loyal. They prefer easy decisions, proximity, availability, and comfortability over anything else. If a product is easily available in the nearby vicinity and is an average to good product, most of the customers would go for it.
That’s why expansion is the only key. Marketers cannot completely rely on the existing customer-base, they need to create and add new customer-base so as to keep things rolling (read the book: How Brands Grow and Eat Your Greens).
Through positive emotions, you can create a comfort zone for customers in which they become more trusting and loyal towards your brand.
Take one amazon experience. Before buying, we see the customer feedback on a particular product. If they are ‘fantastic’, ‘value for money’, ‘great product’, ‘best product I have ever used’, more often we go for it but if the feedback is ‘boring’, ‘devastating’, ‘worst product’, or so, our probability of switching to other alternatives is more.
Human mind is very much sensitive to feedbacks and good and positive feedbacks can help you create positive emotions. Positive emotions can make customers glued to your company for long.
Inconsistency and Emotional Dishonesty
Comfortability comes from Consistency. Inconsistency is jarring. It is difficult for people to jump places and stay comfortable. For the same reason, rebranding involves high levels of risk.
Coca Cola had to withdraw the changes it made in 1985 for its customers did not accept the change and never wanted to lose their comfortability.
Thankfully, Coca Cola regained its customers but the same did not happen in the cases of Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola. They lost a good chunk of their customers because of their inconsistency.
By staying consistent in customer interaction both digitally and physically, you create a comfort zone in which your customers feel safe and secure and develop a sense of brand loyalty. Advertising and social media presence help companies remain consistent in customer’s minds.
Human beings are social animals. They love to be cared, respected, and loved and enjoy personal interactions even in business transactions. As a business enterprise, you need to go beyond business and establish personal relations with your customers.
For example, if you have an HDFC account, you have a Personal Manager to take care of your issues, concerns, and banking transactions. The person concerned calls you personally, consults with you, apprises your bank offers and provides support when needed.
The out-of-mile approach works wonders not only in retaining the customer base but keeping them happy. A study from 2017 reveals a lack of personalisation as one of the major reasons for which customers switch brands.
This is not singular research that shows the importance of personalisation but in fact, there are dozens that validate the fact, ‘one-size-fits’-all approach doesn’t work.
Every customer is unique and they deserve that unique behaviour from business enterprises. How do you feel when a mail addresses you as Dear Sir/Madam and Dear Mr Ghosh? While the first one shows indifference, the latter is a professional one.
‘Dear Yasho’ sounds personal, friendly, and more intimate. You as a business enterprise have to even go beyond this.
Customers always want personalisation. If you know your customers well, their likes, demands, preferred brands, colour, patterns and designs, you can give them an exclusive shopping experience. In e-commerce, you can treat every individual customer as an exclusive customer, thanks to technology and tools for online personalisation.
Look at the following case:
Case Study 1: Swatika is a frequent online buyer. Her online purchases range from beauty products to designer Kurtis, office-wears, fitness gadgets, and books on science fictions.
The following personalisations can be done for Swatika:
1. Homepage: Create a homepage for Swatika based on her online buying experience instead of showing the general layout of the webpage. This will help her go straight to the desired products, save her time browsing unnecessary things, lessen the buying time, and moreover provide her with an exclusive experience.
2. Offers and Guides: Showing offers on her preferred products and brands would surely expedite the conversion. Provide her an Online shopping assistant to help her on sizes, patterns, new arrivals, trending products and all that she needs to be assisted with. It will be like a dedicated salesperson at a store till your billing is done.
3. Show Recently Viewed Items: Show Swatika her recent searches along with the similar items available. If she has been browsing for fitness gadgets recently, show her products related to that. Everything changes and so also buying behaviour. Keep track of all the changes and do incorporate the same in your next interaction with the customer.
4. Design Personalised Campaigns: This is the biggest advantage of e-commerce. Advertisements are made in general but this is the only place where they can be tailor-made. Design campaigns based on customer behaviour. Let Swatika get what she wants, products, offers, travel vouchers, and freebies.
5. Write Personal Mails: Write Swatika mails using her first name in Salutation and Subject Line. Send her birthday wishes and special day greetings. Write about her personal shopping experience and resolve her online shopping issues, if any. This is a great way and maybe the best way to interact with your customers individually.
6. Send Recommendations: Send Swatika recommendations on her future buying. Send her the list of newly arrived books on science fictions, fitness gadgets, new contemporary and ethnic designer Kurtis and office-wears.
Understanding customer psychology can keep us ever-connected and by using their past shopping behaviour, you can enhance their present shopping experience, and recommend them for future buyings. Brands are seen as humans. Hence all brand communications should be designed as conveyed from humans. When interactions are better, the experience can be truly exclusive.