Monday, May 19, 2014

Criticize Humbly

A team of researchers from Emory University, University of Minnesota, and University of Chicago noted that a major appeal of word-of-mouth for shoppers is that WOM often includes cautions and downside risks. Retailers’ and manufacturers’ ads aren’t expected to do that.
     Then the researchers went on to find that when a source criticizes a store or product rudely, the influence of the criticism drops. On the other side, a tone of courtesy and humility added credibility.
     Consumer participants in one study were asked to read a review of a luxury wristwatch. For some of the participants, the review included the sentence, “I don’t want to be mean, but the band pinches a bit,” rather than only, “The band pinches a bit.” Even though this was a criticism, the softening phrasing significantly increased the likeability and influence ratings accorded the reviewer. In turn, this resulted in a higher preference for the watch and a willingness to pay 43% more for the watch. When participants were asked to describe the watch’s brand personality, those consumers who had read courteous criticism gave higher marks on honesty, cheerfulness, and wholesomeness.
     A negative sentence in an otherwise positive review can, in itself, add to the credibility of the review. Reviews that include both strong positives and a few negatives will develop curiosity in prospective shoppers. The curiosity can lead to the shoppers wanting to check things out for themselves at your store or website. When positives end up far outweighing negatives, you’ve won a customer. Research at Rutgers University concluded that direct experience with the retailer affects how the negative information is interpreted.
     But beyond balancing the positive by throwing in suggestions for improvements, courteous phrasing augments the effect. Courtesy reflects humility, and a touch of humility makes it more likely a recommendation resource will convince a shopper to go ahead and buy. Stanford University researchers found that expert restaurant reviewers are more influential when the reviewers say they're less than completely certain about their conclusions.
     As a retail salesperson, avoid coming across to the customer as absolutely certain in your recommendations. A little uncertainty makes the customer more comfortable in asking questions. Those questions are highly valuable when you’re facilitating the sale. You can present counterarguments or you can steer the customer toward an alternative which will better fit their needs.
     Give your shoppers balanced reviews and comparison critiques with courtesy and humility.

Click below for more: 
Attend to Face-to-Face Word-of-Mouth 
Encourage Balanced Customer Reviews 
Speak the Language of Helpful Reviews 
Impress Customers with Your Staff’s Expertise 
Criticize Employees with Care

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a good send written on the psychology of shopping