Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making the best choice

The famous Jam experiment is frequently used to prove that too much choice makes customers unhappy. But maybe, the problem is not about having too much choice, but rather having too little chance to learn about the options.

In a big variety of choice, the thing you mostly need is an expert able to “help” you make the right choice. The expert may be anybody, whose opinion is trustworthy in a certain area: strategic consultant, account manager, sales person in a fashion store, or the gardener you buy flowers from. A customer may need an expert opinion in most unusual situations. For example: Do you know how to buy chocolate?  

Preparing for the visit home, of course I wanted to bring some Belgian chocolates. My path led to one of the chocolatiers… Faced with all the variety, I looked at the sales person… and met an understanding smile.
She took time to explain me: all the terms related to the ingredients and types of pralines, also shared which chocolates are traditional for Belgium and which are house speciality.
Additionally, asking what occasion I needed the chocolates for, she could “help me choose” the present (in fact she just told me what would be best to take) … And I left the shop so joyful; being sure that I will bring home the "best chocolate I could choose" J

…. In another case my friend and I have just visited a store selling chocolate with “strange” flavours: vinegar, chilli, beer, ham, cheese etc.  We were extremely excited…. and lost  J So, we asked for advice and received, as my friend described it later: “a reflection of the unwillingness of the seller to make any compromises... because then, we would judge her opinion and taste:
“They are all good or depending on your taste.”  To be honest, no idea if we prefer chocolate with beer or cheese taste. We felt like the person was neither interested in helping us nor in selling. Quite a disappointment!

Realising that we did not buy the best possible product makes the customer feel unhappy. They lost the chance of trying something special. I wish all the professionals facing customers (consultant, account manager, sales assistant) are indeed experts in their area. In that case, please, do express your opinion and preferences. Your customers will feel you really take care of them, willing to recommend them the best you may offer.

Experiencing the top product/service, the customers will probably come back eager to try your “special offers”. That is the moment you have a chance not to scare, but to delight them with a lot of choice.

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