You know your customers, right?

With businesses and households tightening their belts, IMPACT’s Behavioural Psychology Specialist, Kris White shares how to overcome a cautious consumer mindset and attract more customers.

Tuesday’s Federal Budget shared more grim news about the future of the Australian economy, with a global downturn, rising inflation and the federal government footing the bill for more flood relief payments.

Wages are also going to feel the squeeze, with Treasurer Jim Chalmers predicting negative growth for the next two-to-three years, as wages fail to match inflation.

In response to this, we can expect businesses and consumers to be even more careful with spending.

So how can your organisation combat this cautious mindset and attract more customers? Use a human-centred approach to communications, particularly on your website.

Behavioural Psychology Specialist, Kris White, shares the three key strategies to keep your customer front of mind, and ensure you are speaking directly to their needs.

Call on me

According to Behavioural Psychology Specialist, Kris White, companies that put their customers first are set for success.

“While your business is the centre of your world, it is a tiny part of your customer’s. Considering their needs, wants, values and identity, and how your products or services fit into this – is essential in this environment,” says Kris.

“Understanding your customer and what they’re looking for requires regularly checking in. The benchmarks for user experience change quickly, so, if you last connected with them more than a year ago, you and your customer are living in separate worlds.”

Connecting with your customers can be through a survey, your socials or, to really find out what makes them tick, book a behavioural insights strategy session with Kris at IMPACT.

The power of symbols

Symbols are more than just short-hand communications. Semiotics teaches us how meaning is communicated though icons and images and, when thoughtfully designed and used, they can be used to establish authority and confidence with your customers.

“Trademarks and badges work on simple psychology, leveraging authority bias to convey to a customer that your company is reputable and worth doing business with,” says Kris.

Icons like padlocks for security, crests for industry institutions and seals to symbolise guarantees quickly communicate meaning in a far more impactful way than text.

They are so powerful, says Kris, that they are sometimes referred to as ‘trust badges’ within the world of ecommerce, and approximately 50 per cent of shoppers are likely to trust a website that uses one.

Trademarks are also an important tool when communicating with customers, in both B2B and B2C.

“Trademarks show that your organisation has gone to the extra effort (the effort heuristic) of establishing and protecting copyright, because of its inherent worth,” Kris says.

I’ll have what she’s having

While your company may include recommendations from customers on your website, it’s important to note the difference between testimonials and reviews, and the use cases for each.

Testimonials are helpful for showing how people engage with your company, allowing customers to find out more about a product or service from the perspective of someone like them.

Using a platform, like Google Reviews or TrustPilot, on your website provides authentic, honest feedback, without the curation.

“Reviews provide social proof, causing customers to think ‘if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me,” Kris says.

“Customers will scan reviews looking for themselves – other people who have used the product or service in a similar manner to the way they would, and who have the same expectations,” he continues.

When browsing for local businesses, 77 per cent of people ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read reviews, and 84 per cent trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend.

While many businesses are worried about exposing themselves – and potential customers – to negative comments, they are important in establishing trust. In fact, many customers scroll straight to the one-star reviews to see if the issues mentioned are cause for concern.

“Negative reviews are conspicuous in their absence, and most customers are savvy enough to evaluate how representative a poor review is of overall experience,” says Kris.

According to Kris, they also provide a great opportunity for your company to turn a disgruntled consumer into an advocate. Research shows that seven out of 10 customers changed their mind about a brand after the company replied to a review.

If you want to make sure that your digital communications and the needs of your customers are in sync, book a communications audit today.

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