What makes a customer choose you instead of other competitors? And what makes them stay with you in the long term or choose someone else?
Of course, many different factors play a role in this. We tend to focus mainly on rational thinking processes and we expect a customer to go for the best quality, most expertise or the best price-quality ratio. However, psychological studies (including from Ap Dijksterhuis) show that these things, although important, are not decisive for the final choice. People take important decisions with their unconscious minds; their gut feeling.
Customers especially want to feel good about the relationship and the contact with an organization and their contact person. As a human being, we have a natural need to be part of something and to belong somewhere. This need is so strong that every form of social rejection or exclusion ‘feels’ like real pain; in the brain it is then visible that the brain area that is linked to physical pain is activated (eg Eisenberger 2003). In contact with customers it is therefore important to take this ‘fear’ into account and to act on this unconscious feeling.
Harvard Business School has translated the results of these studies into 5 ‘client core concerns’; needs that customers have, which determine whether they feel good about a relationship or not:
- Do I have any impact?
- Am I valued?
- Do I experience positive/warm feelings?
- Does it benefit me?
- Am I just a number?
By taking into account these 5 concerns in every moment of contact in the customer’s choice process and in building and maintaining a relationship with the customer, you can add more value, regardless of content. That way you make the relationship valuable in itself.
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