Friday, June 14, 2013

Buoy Your Business Against Boycotts

If people announce a boycott of your store or of specific products you sell, an understanding of the social psychology of consumer boycotts can provide useful guidance.
  • To cool down the fervor of a boycotter, allow the person to express their anger in bursts of up to about thirty seconds. This gives you sufficient time to understand the boycotter’s points. But beyond about thirty seconds, there’s the risk of the person getting more wound up rather than easing off their anger. 
  • Realize that the reasons you hear might not be the true reasons for the boycott. Researchers at Germany’s University of Kiel find that the arguments consumers give for a boycott are often devised to rationalize the decision and then convince others to join in. They are arguments which you may choose to address, but because these arguments are devised, they’re not good guides for you making significant changes in your store operating procedures. The power behind the arguments may fade with time, even when you don’t make changes. 
  • Distinguish impromptu from organized boycotts. A few years ago, hordes of people were angry at BP for the massive and continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I was struck by a photo of two women which appeared at the time in the media. The women were standing at a BP service station. Based on the smiles and the shorts, I’d stay these supposed protestors were much more interested in having their picture taken repeatedly than in raging against the corporate machine. Impromptu boycotts draw attention to your business. The boycott can draw sympathy as well, especially if the protest is prolonged. Turn all this to your advantage. Your initial reaction to an impromptu boycott could profitably be, “Let’s use any media attention to show how good a retail business we run.” 
  • If it is a boycott initiated and maintained by a community action group, determine the group’s boycott objectives before deciding what actions to take. According to researchers at University of Texas-Austin and University of Southern California, community action groups organizing a boycott are usually less interested in doing economic damage to a business than in forcing changes to the behavior of all businesses engaging in the offensive action. If you find this is the objective of an organized boycott of your retail business, publicize any of the ways in which you share common ground with the group. 
Click below for more: 
Cool Down Customer Temper Tantrums 
Redirect Consumer Boycott Anger

No comments:

Post a Comment