This is the first of five thoughts dealing with the core psychological needs of all consumers. Each one of these six needs represents an opportunity.
This thought deals with certainty and uncertainty.
Every person wants the certainty that they will be safe, comfortable, secure, protected and looked after. All people want to know that the sun will rise, and their car will start tomorrow morning. They also want to know that when they shop, or engage with a business, the customer experience will be to their liking.
Research undertaken in the United States found that 55% of consumers were prepared to pay more for a guaranteed high standard customer experience. These consumers want a good experience. They also want this experience to be consistent and predictable – guaranteed. In a sense, this is the very definition of quality assurance.
Certainty is so important to consumers that 67% reported that one bad experience led to a change of supplier.
As important as certainty, to many people, is uncertainty. Uncertainty or variety is all about excitement, surprise, challenge, and difference. Only children tend to want to see the same movie over and over again. Adults want variety, not just in terms of the movie per se, but also in terms of the genre.
It is often said that variety is the spice of life, and for consumers this seems to be true.
Great brands offer certainty in terms of performance, service standards, pricing, and availability. At the same time, they offer variety in terms of models, colours, styles, and innovation.
That said, while most businesses appear to understand the importance of variety, many seem to struggle with the importance of certainty. This is evident every time, a shop assistant tells a customer that a standard product is out of stock, a waitress says the kitchen is closed because the chef is ill, a mechanic says that your car service will not be completed today, a library says that all copies of that book are out, a professional service firm says the relevant partner is out of town today, you are in a long line at the bank and have no idea when you will be attended to, or your mobile phone is still not working despite just coming out of the workshop.
In 2018 – give customers certainty and uncertainty
Author: D. John Carlson