Monday, August 5, 2013

Mire Customers as Calamity Prevention

University of Florida and University of Pennsylvania researchers assigned study participants to select among airline flights. One group were led to believe the decision was a quite important one. The other group were told the decision was relatively unimportant. And some of the members of each group were given the information about the flights in a way that was hard to read, while the remainder were given easy-to-read information.
     The hard-to-read text used a small font and little contrast between the text and the background. The easy-to-read text used a larger font and clear contrast.
     Findings from the Florida/Pennsylvania studies:
  • Those required to use the hard-to-read text spent more time deliberating and therefore made more careful decisions. Perhaps the only thing surprising about this finding is how many of the participants given the small font in low contrast were willing to even continue doing the task! 
  • Among the participants told at the start that the task was relatively unimportant, those given the hard-to-read text came away judging the selection of flight to have been more important than did those given the easy-to-read text. Perhaps, having labored over the text led the consumers to justify it all by deciding the task was quite important after all. 
  • Those who considered the task more important spent more time deliberating before making the decision. In fact, they even sought more options in an effort to maximize the quality of the decision. 
     Do you see the spiral here? In introducing the perceptual speed bump, the researchers got people to spend more time on the task, which led to them considering it more important, which led to them spending more time on the task, and so on.
     Except the researchers didn’t refer to a speed bump. They talked about the study participants having become stuck in quicksand. A trivial decision could be made into an unnecessarily complicated one.
     This quicksand effect is not something we’d want to use with shoppers very often. Actually, we’re unable to use it very often. The study participants stuck around because they’d signed on to complete the professors’ assignment. Most consumers would give up, or least complain.
     Still, there are times we’d like to mire a decision maker, slowing them down so they must carefully evaluate the alternatives and the consequences. We don’t want them arrested interminably in the quicksand. Therefore, remember to pull them out at the right time.

Click below for more: 
Imply Exclusivity Using Processing Difficulty 
Caution Shoppers for OTC Safety

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