Monday, May 5, 2014

Lend Formality When Customers Borrow Items

Sometimes a shopper will debate with himself whether or not to purchase an item because the shopper lacks the equipment to transport or install the item. A deal maker in these cases can be the retailer offering to loan the person the necessary equipment. Other circumstances in which you might invite the shopper to be a borrower include an effort to resolve indecision by sending the person home with a few samples to try out and then return.
     Keeping these arrangements informal makes the shopper feel special, as if the offer is being made to them, although not to everybody. Still, research findings from Bournemouth University in the UK suggest limits on advisable informality. The culprit is ambiguous obligations.
  • What does the borrower owe to the retailer if accepting the offer? “In taking home the samples, do I become ethically obliged to ultimately purchase at least one of them?” “If I don’t accept the offer to borrow the installation equipment, am I required to give the retailer a bunch of other reasons for not making the purchase at this store?” In answering these questions, the consumer may give loyalty to the retailer for the offer of the loan, but it can be a grudging, and therefore short-term, loyalty. 
  • What does the borrower owe to the items? The UK researchers found that borrowers under highly informal circumstances will initially treat the objects less carefully than if they owned the items. This makes it more likely the customer will damage the installation equipment or fail to return the samples. If the retailer enforces contractual obligations afterwards, this easily leaves a residue of ill will. 
     In offering to loan the shopper items, formalize the expectations, such as with a brief agreement the person signs. Resist making the process overly formal, though, just as you’re not making it overly informal.
     Also, allow the customer’s appreciation to arise spontaneously, with minimum prompting. Don’t say, “Take home a few samples, with no obligation on your part.” This is similar to saying to a shopper, “I’ll give you a free estimate with no obligation on your part.” Consumers expect there to be no charge for an estimate, so “free estimate” comes across as bragging about nothing. The consumer then doubts the value of real benefits you describe later.
     Say, “May I run the numbers?,” and in the case of borrowing, “I can loan you the items.”

Click below for more: 
Offer Exclusive Price Discounts Cautiously
Fight Employee Theft With Expectations 
Warm Up Cold Calls

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