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Helping consumers feel confident in their decision to purchase from you

Helping consumers feel confident in their decision to purchase from you

In life, you’re faced with many decisions. The opportunity to choose right or wrong, to say yes or no, to pick one career over another. For consumers, one of the most important decisions they’ll make in the marketplace is choosing what brands they’ll support.

By no means is this a small decision. As consumers shop, they’re contemplating what products will be a part of their life moments (family dinner, a cousin’s wedding, the first day of school, or even their day-to-day). Choosing the “right” brand is the difference between a satisfied customer and a customer who’s left feeling unfulfilled by their experience.

In comes your job: being the brand that a consumer chooses. It’s a heavy responsibility and can only be accomplished if you know what makes a consumer decide to buy a product or support a brand. 

We spent time with Jason Ten-Pow, Founder and CEO of ONR, a customer experience strategy agency, who talked to us about brands holding the power, the customer service mistakes you don’t want to make and the criteria consumers have for brands like yours.

Here’s how our conversation went:

Brands set the tone for consumer buying decisions 

“There’s a misconception that customers make that decision [to buy a product], and while that is somewhat true, the reality is that brands and industries set the context for that decision-making," Ten-Pow said. "Here’s what I mean by that: If brands are not doing enough to differentiate themselves from each other, what inevitably happens is that the customer chooses their decisions based on two criteria — number one is availability [of a product] and second is price."

The availability and price set by your brand help consumers determine whether or not they can see themselves getting good usage out of your products and services in the future. It’s also a convenient measure for decision-making when there are too many options available to choose from.

“When industries and brands fail to articulate what makes them special and what makes them different, customers default to making their decisions based on convenience. Unlike in the past, 50 or 100 years ago, there’s more choices than ever,” said Ten-Pow. “Customers don’t have the ability to look at every single option available to them. They just don’t have that time, and as result they take shortcuts to make those decisions more convenient. If brands and industries aren’t making it easy to figure out what makes them special then the customer is going to default to things they can easily grasp like what’s in front of them on the shelf and what’s cheapest.”

This might leave you wondering if there’s anything left for you to do if you’ve already established plentiful access to your products and set a price point your customers are happy with. If a consumer feels like the availability of a product or its price is attractive to them, is that enough for them to conclude that your brand is what’s best for them, or is there more that goes into them being able to say you are effectively articulating your value in their customer journey?

“If there are no other criteria easily at hand, then yes the customer will depend on quick and easy factors to form their decision-making, but that does not necessarily mean that the customer will be happy with the purchase — it just means that the customer has made a choice," said Ten-Pow. "Then, there is a whole second layer to this relationship and it’s whether or not this choice has actually met the wants, needs and desires of the customer because even if they have made a decision based on convenience... the customer is always evaluating.”

What does this mean? Ten-Pow says that once your customer takes that product out of its container and they’ve applied it [to their routine] they’re going to be assessing it based on their wants, needs and desires to see if that decision was one that had inherent value for them. 

“If that [conclusion] of that product was, ‘Hey, it fits my needs, but it would’ve been nice if it had fulfilled some of my wants — which it didn’t — and it fulfilled none of my desires (which are things that would’ve really put it over the top),' then am I really that loyal to that brand or that product that I just purchased? Now, there’s a huge question mark over that decision.”

Customers buy products from brands that make them feel heard, valued and cared about 

Customer service has an impact on post-purchase feelings, too. Ten-Pow offered up an example. He mentioned the process a consumer might go through when buying a smart light bulb that doesn’t change colors like they expected and their interaction with a company is less than optimal.

“Now they’re forced to contact the company that manufactures the lightbulb; [what if] that company is unable to answer their questions or does a poor job of communicating with that customer to make them feel heard, valued, or cared about?” asked Ten-Pow. “All of a sudden that original purchase won’t produce a second one from this customer because the brand has failed to meet more than the minimal expectations of the customer, and as a result, that customer relationship, which the brand might feel is a strong one, is actually hanging by a thread.”

Brands who have reached this point in the shopping process have to focus on saving their customer relationship before they try to deepen it. Ten-Pow says every customer relationship has a breaking point when things go wrong between the brand and the customer. It’s important for the brand to have clear knowledge of where that breaking point is and to prevent that customer from passing it.

“That’s what post-sales support is all about. You may have purchased a product that didn’t meet your expectations. Now you have some brands [that] will say, ‘just return it.' No problem — that’s very easy to do and there’s little hassle in most instances, but there are very specific steps that a brand must take…”

Here are three of those specifics:

1. Reassure the customer that they have been heard.

2. Empathize with the position your customer is in.

3. Make every effort to resolve that issue as swiftly and cooperatively as possible.

“There are times where you will reach an impasse, and you will not be able to solve the problem, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the end of the relationship," said Ten-Pow. "You can do many things to make the customer feel that you value them. Not just giving products away for free, but make them feel like you really care about them.”

Ten-Pow says if you follow those three steps as a general rule of thumb when it comes to caring for your customers, you might just reap the benefits.

“The next time a customer is faced with an equal decision about two products they know very little about, but they do know that one product belongs to one brand that they’ve had a [positive] experience with, the hope is that the customer will go with what they know best because they’ll want to reduce the risk of disappointment, of not having their wants, needs and desires met."

Choosing the “right” brand is a large part of the consumer buying journey, but so is being the right brand. With the help of the tips provided in this blog post, you can give consumers everything they need to feel confident about shopping with you.


Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.

Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.