Limit Your Customers’ Choices

In my last post Ignore What Your Customers Say, And Some …I tried to convince you that you may know more than your customers about what they actually want; and to be prepared to give them what they meant to say rather than what they actually told you.

Now how about YOU limit their options …and make them happy customers?

There are a lot of scientific studies on human behavior showing that while choice and the freedom to choose are positives, too many options to choose from can create decision paralysis amongst customers, and make them feel worse off even after they choose to buy (if they choose at all)

Amongst the negative experiences after they purchase, customers may regret buying all together or they may think ‘what if I bought the other one instead?’

Dr B. Schwartz in his Paradox of Choice tells of the series of experiments titled “When Choice Is Demotivating”. They paint a telling picture [emphasis is mine]:

One study was set in a gourmet food store.…… In one condition of the study, 6 varieties of the jam were available for tasting. In another, 24 varieties were available. …….The large array of jams attracted more people to the table than the small array, though in both cases people tasted about the same number of jams on average. When it came to buying, however, a huge difference became evident. Thirty percent of the people exposed to the small array of jams actually bought a jar; only 3 percent of those exposed to the large array of jams did so.

In a second study, …. students were then asked which chocolate–based on description and appearance–they would choose for themselves. ……. For one group of students, the initial array of chocolates numbered 6, and for the other, it numbered 30. The key results of this study were that the students faced with the small array were more satisfied with their tasting than those faced with the large array. In addition, they were four times as likely to choose chocolate rather than cash as compensation for their participation….

Part of the downside of abundant choice is that each new option adds to the list of trade-offs, and trade-offs have psychological consequences. The necessity of making trade-offs alters how we feel about the decisions we face; more important, it affects the level of satisfaction we experience from the decisions we ultimately make.

Products or Services?

The tactics of limiting your customers’ choices  (in almost all types of business) has far more positive win-win implications than meet the eye.

And remember that this applies to services as well as to products. In my case, as a Business Results Architect, I sell my clients one (tangible) outcome with only 1-3 options/prices.

I will have more to say on this topic of choice in my future posts.