CHANGING PUBLIC PERCEPTIONBuyer’s Remorse
By Larry Williams
Strategies to reducing that second-guessing tendency
It’s amazing how embarrassed we feel when faced with the prospect of admitting we did something we are sorry for. A guilty conscience or the awareness of having made a bad decision leads to a desire to sweep it under the rug and tell as few people as possible because of the sheer embarrassment of it all.
We benefit when we apply hindsight to the operation of our businesses in an effort to improve the many different aspects of our service offerings. Unfortunately, hindsight is a rather common occurrence for many consumers too.
Sometimes the “perceptions” of which we are most unaware may be the very ones to which we should pay the most attention. A perfect example of this is “buyer’s remorse.” We have all felt this emotion at one time or another. It represents the regrettable feeling of purchasing a product we shouldn’t have. Sometimes this is because we were too quick to make a decision. Other times it is because we simply didn’t take the time to shop around for the best advice and/or best price.
You will often hear of buyer’s remorse near the beginning of the year when people are making New Year’s resolutions. Many people become committed to joining a health spa or purchase exercise equipment in the hopes that this purchased product will offer the motivation to follow their dream of getting in shape. Often this membership or equipment will then go unused because the excitement of the New Year’s resolution simply didn’t translate into motivation.
It is not uncommon to hear similar stories of buyer’s remorse from people who have purchased time shares, extended warranties or electronic equipment. For some, there may have been pressure in a sales presentation; for others, the regretted decision may have been driven more by desire than information.
Regardless of the myriad of possible reasons for it, buyer’s remorse is a very real condition that exists with our customers and one that we don’t consider very often. Since we are engaged in a profession that, for the most part, sells our customers on the services we will provide at a later date, this gives our customers a great deal of time to second-guess their decisions. For example, consider the bride who may excitedly tell close friends and family about her choice of DJ, only to hear “You paid how much?” in reply. This can and does sometimes leave a customer feeling their decision may have been premature, or at the very least that it’s not popular.
Fortunately, there is a very effective solution to negate the perception that is commonly associated with buyer’s remorse. Let’s look at that piece of exercise equipment. What would immediately make that consumer satisfied with the product they have purchased? Without question, it would be their immediate and continual use of the product. The same would be true with that health spa membership or electronic equipment.
When a customer is engaged in utilizing the product (or in our case, the service) they will immediately have a sense of satisfaction and good feeling about their product purchase or service they have previously hired.
But how can a customer utilize a service that is still many months away from being enacted? For starters, we can immediately get to work on the many important aspects of pre-event planning. By preparing contracts, receipts and other event paperwork in a timely manner we can immediately show our proficiency in how we conduct matters of business. Thank you cards can also offer an immediate sense of comfort to our customers.
Just think of how you feel when you begin to receive receipts and literature concerning that Caribbean vacation you just booked with your travel agent that is still several months away. It is entirely possible to build confidence about a previously purchased commodity many months ahead of its anticipated use.
The scheduling of appointments and follow-up with these pre-event consultations can also prove incredibly beneficial to our continuing efforts of customer service and satisfaction. Other follow-up calls and correspondences concerning vender referrals and/or special ideas that add a personal touch to their celebration will usually be very well received, especially when timed with the progression of planning efforts.
When you engage in a concerted effort to showcase your customer service qualities in the months leading up to an event, you are laying down a foundation of specialized service that can and will leave nothing but a positive perception of your company. When this is successfully implemented, the idea of an outside influence causing your customers to second-guess their decision will likely be met with a swift and decisive affirmation of the quality service you are already providing.
Consumer confidence is rooted in customer service. It represents the customers’ ability to feel confident and secure with the services that they have reserved. When we purposefully create an atmosphere of “inclusion” we can more effectively work to negate the possibility of a regrettable feeling that is created by hindsight.
Larry Williams is the author of Mind Your Own Business (ProDJ Publishing). He is a local chapter director for the ADJA and recipient of the ADJA’s 2006 Michael Butler Humanitarian Award.
Filed Under: Business, Issues from 2007
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