As customers, we make decisions based on emotions.
As business owners, we make decisions based on logic.
Because, we need to justify the decisions we make. And, as business owners (managers, marketers, operating officers) we put so much time and effort into creating something of value, it’s hard to trust something as vague as emotions.
I ran a workshop recently.
One of the key parts of the workshop is exploring the way people make decisions. We use some science, a little behavioural economics, show some pictures of George Bush and discuss the notion of risk (with a doff of the cap to Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversy). We get a few laughs and people say they get the points we’re making.
Until we try and use the same thinking on their business.
When you ask people what emotions drive the decisions their customers make, price is always one of the first dogs out of the box.
Because that’s one of the big concerns business people have.
No money = no business.
And it’s emotional. For the business owner.
Because money is the score board. It’s the measure of success. It’s the difference between a relaxing month and a stressful year. It’s the difference between “aaaah” and “aargh”.
It’s not so much of a concern for the customer. They’ve already chosen to spend the money. It’s already out of their mental wallet. For the customer, it’s simply a matter of where they spend it.
These people ran a hotel.
We asked what concerns a traveller might have about staying in their hotel.
“Our customers have no concerns at all, because every concern is addressed on the website.”
“Every concern is addressed?”
“Every single one. Price. Location. Public transport. Things to do. Everything.” (They’re very proud of their website.)
We asked them to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. When they book a hotel in another state, what concerns do they have before they arrive?
They had a few.
Will I be able to relax?
Will it feel mundane and ordinary and not like a holiday at all?
Will the room be smaller than it looked on the internet?
Is the hotel next to an all-night rock venue?
What if the footpath is being dug up along the back lane?
Will the line be too long at the breakfast buffet?
Will there be enough taxis if I need to get somewhere fast?
Will the people next door be having a party? Or a fight?
What if there’s a vague musty smell like there was at that place in Byron?
What if the air-conditioner is too noisy? Or it leaks?
What if I lose my luggage?
And, all of a sudden, we found ourselves in a very interesting discussion around values and behaviours and experiences and sensory fulfil
ment. Because we imagined what would go through our minds if we were the customer.
It’s a good question to ask yourself.
If I were you, would I buy what I’m selling?