Friday, October 7, 2011

Secret the Customer’s Confidences

Skilled customer service includes protecting the secrets of your customers, clients, guests, and patients. Retailer discretion heads off the possibility of your consumers secreting the bile of anger toward you and your store.
     Research findings from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh demonstrate how easy it is to overlook what sorts of confidences a customer would like you to respect. The researchers explored this matter in the context of two circumstances arising in air travel: First, when passengers accustomed to flying in business class were required to travel in economy class. Second, when the special privileges associated with premium frequent flyer status were not available to the customer.
     On average, the passengers encountering one or both of these situations preferred it be concealed from the other passengers. The objective, the researchers concluded, was to protect the consumer’s self-identity as having special status.
     At the other end of the dimension, customers might want not to let others know they’ve received a special privilege. An example concerns exclusive price discounts. When you tell a customer they’re receiving a price discount, they’ll build good will toward your store. If you add that the discount isn’t available to every other customer, the good will might be even greater. Or your announcement might make the customer uncomfortable. Shopper psychology research finds that exclusive price discounts operate in strange ways:
     Be consistent and be ready to explain the reason for the discount. Otherwise, the customer might get angry, thinking that your store pricing is highly arbitrary or even discriminatory. Researchers at University of St. Thomas and University of California-Berkeley analyzed a pricing policy used by Amazon in year 2000, in which some shoppers were offered a discount of 30% on a set of DVDs, while others were offered a discount of 40%. When customers discovered in online chat rooms what was going on, they had challenging questions for Amazon. Better for those who received an exclusive discount to keep it secret, those receiving it might say.
     Because many Asian cultures stress duty to the group over individual glory, avoid publicizing the identities of any big winners. Otherwise, those big winners and all those who see the publicity may come to fear that the loyalty program tempts fate in ways that could bring bad fortune. Particularly if others in the group would consider the reward unearned, East Asian recipients in some studies felt it produced a menacing imbalance.

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

Click below for more:
Offer Exclusive Price Discounts Cautiously
Tailor Loyalty Programs to Customer Culture

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