Count Your Losses
A few weeks ago, I flew from London to New York. I knew what to expect – or, more to the point, what not to expect: food. Most airlines don’t offer complimentary meals any more. Some don’t even provide snacks for purchase.
Imagine my surprise (and delight), then, when Continental Airlines served an in-flight meal and snack. It was nothing fancy, but I felt cared for…pampered. It cost Continental very little. But it paid a significant psychic dividend.
Between forkfuls of chicken, I had a marketing insight: if you want to delight a customer, give them back something they’ve lost. Marketers spend billions of dollars annually on customer research. We try to identify, test and anticipate unmet needs. But people care more avoiding and/or recouping losses than acquiring something new. Behavioral economists call this loss aversion.
So, the next time you want to delight a customer, why not count their losses? Then, see if you can find a relatively inexpensive way to recoup what they’ve given up…at least some of it. Many of us have experienced cutbacks over the past 12 months — in spending power, in job security, in long-term savings. For many companies, a smart way to prepare for the “re-set economy” is to give something back.
To reach Meg Wildrick: