People don’t make completely random decisions, especially when it comes to what they do with their time and money. Learning some of the basic principles of customer psychology will help you leverage the reasoning behind the choices your customers make. Understanding their motivation allows you to create the right environment to engage your customers and generate more sales.
Show Your Face
The more time you spend responding personally to the needs of your customers, the happier they will be. Communicating face-to-face, while excellent for fostering long term relationships with clients, isn’t always possible. However, almost any method of creating a more personal interaction can be helpful. We know reading a personalized email that addresses the recipient by name and includes details designed with targeted interests in mind leads to more conversions than a bland form email. Customers appreciate individualized attention, no matter what method of contact is used.
The methods of interaction you choose to offer will be better received if personalized and in real time (or as close to it as possible). Live chat, video chat, telephone support, newsletters, and email outreach are just a few of the opportunities you have to improve customer satisfaction and gain loyalty.
Apply Psychology to Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The right software offers you the opportunity to catalog a wealth of personalized customer information. When using CRM for small business growth you must be able to integrate what you know about a customer’s behavior with your outreach, customer service, and support. CRM gives you access to an individual customer’s entire history with your business. Some allow social integration, so you can see their interactions with your business across multiple channels. This means any interaction the customer has with anyone in your company will be a personalized experience because you and your staff can look back at this customer’s history for a full understanding of what they need from your business.
Future Pace Your Clients
Therapists use a technique to help patients envision potential future stumbling blocks and learn how to overcome them. Real estate agents encourage their clients to picture themselves living life inside potential homes, rather than just look at empty rooms. This neurolinguistic programming tool is called future pacing.
When you communicate with the client, use language that assumes they will purchase your product or service. Tell them exactly how they will benefit from their relationship with your business as though they’re already a valued client. Replace the word “if,” with “when.” A car salesperson might future pace by saying, “When you drive this car down the highway, you’ll feel like a million bucks.” This gets your customer to focus on the outcome of doing business with you, rather than the transaction itself.
Use the Power of Reciprocity
Social psychology indicates that people naturally want to respond to a kind action with a kind reaction. For example, when you do something nice for someone, like help your neighbor shovel snow, they will want to do something nice for you. Reciprocity is useful in several ways in business. Networking is a fairly obvious way. Referring a potential client to a competitor who would better suit their needs is a two-fold kind action that may garner you a referral from that competitor in the future, plus you’re likely to receive referrals or future business from that potential client.
To encourage customer loyalty through reciprocity, try a simple loyalty program that offers rewards for repeat business. Surprise reciprocity involves spontaneous rewards, such as one-day sales for past customers. When you go above and beyond for your customers, it not only encourages their loyalty, but it gives them a story to share with others -- and they will.
Leverage the Serial Position Effect
Even if you’ve never heard the term before, you’ve likely experienced it. Serial Position Effect explains how people remember sequential things. If you read a list of ten words, you will tend to most easily recall the first and last few items. The words in the middle get a little foggy. This tendency is due to the Primacy and Recency effects. You store those first words in your long term memory and the last in your short term.
Serial Position Effect can be applied to business marketing on a few levels. You must be conscious of it when choosing ad placement. When you make multiple offers within marketing copy, list the benefits of doing business with your company, or offer cross-sell options to customers, keep in mind this innate tendency people have to best recall the first and last items. Carefully choose the order in which you present your best assets and offers.
You don’t need a degree in psychology to influence customer behavior. Instead, try simple techniques like these. Put in the time and effort to apply them correctly and you’re almost certain to see returns.