Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ease Irritation by Eliciting White Lies

The salesperson or cashier briefly looks away from the person they’re serving and says to the people waiting, “I apologize for the delay. I’ll be with you soon.” Based on your experience as a retailer, what do you think the most likely response will be from those in line? Probably an accepting nod or an “It’s okay.” The retailer’s acknowledgement that they’re waiting in itself eases the irritation.
     Researchers at University of Alberta and Stanford University say there’s another dynamic at work here, too: If someone who is inconvenienced nods or verbalizes acceptance, they are taking on some responsibility for enduring the bother, this gives them a feeling of control, and that feeling eases their irritation.
     In many cases, the expression of acceptance is a white lie, generated to be nice. When customers in a setting they find to be otherwise pleasant believe they’ve figured out what the retailer wants them to do, they typically mold their behavior to fit.
     This irritation amelioration also occurs in restaurants when the diner with the slightly overcooked steak tells the server that everything is perfect even though it’s not. And with the woman who leaves the hairdresser the usual tip, although she’s not at all comfortable with the unexpected new look. Actually, in the study of waiting lines, the shoppers who told the white lies ended up spending more money than did those who were not induced to lie by the retailer’s acknowledgement and reassurance. It was as if the irritated shoppers wanted to go overboard in convincing themselves they felt better.
     In areas where shoppers often need to wait, the placement of mirrors can ease the irritation. Because most people are entertained by looking at themselves, you’ll get from the shopper less than the average 36% overestimation of the service delay. But again, there’s also the shared responsibility perspective. When a consumer sees an image of herself, her self-awareness increases. This leads to the consumer subconsciously considering what part she played in the unsatisfactory experience.
     Researchers at Bayer Healthcare, Columbia University, and Maastricht University found that placing a mirror behind places where you accept complaints reduces the intensity of customers’ dissatisfaction. Mirrors cause us to pause and look at ourselves. Moreover, the reflection in the mirror helps people sense emotions they’re experiencing, again arousing self-awareness which can ease extreme irritation. Signage including words like I, my, and mine also works.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Acknowledge People Waiting in Line
Demand to Know Characteristics of Bias
Screw the Torture of Customer Waits
Keep the Checkout Lines Flowing

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