The Strategist

How to get your clients do what you want


09/11/2017 - 12:13



People rarely realize why they made a particular choice. However, we are almost never independent in our actions: everything that surrounds us pushes us to prefer one of the options. Nudging is everywhere, even if we do not notice it. Authors of a bestseller Nudge tell how to help people make right decision.



Cydcor via flickr
Cydcor via flickr
Carolyn caters for schools in a large city. One day, she decided to check whether order of dishes would affect the choice of children, even though the menu would remain the same. In some schools, desserts were exhibited at the front of the display case, in the second - at the end, in the third - on a separate shelf. Arrangement of dishes was also different. In some schools, fried potatoes were placed at the level of the eyes, and carrots took this place in others.

It turned out that Carolyn could regulate consumption of various products within 25% by simple re-laying of dishes.

She learned an important lesson: even small changes in context seriously affect schoolchildren and adults. The consequences can be either positive or negative. For example, Carolyn could increase consumption of healthy food and lower consumption of unhealthy products.

Carolyn is an "architect of choice". It is the one who is responsible for organizing the context in which people make decisions. Many people become architects of choice, often unconsciously. This is a person who develops ballot papers with a list of candidates, or a doctor, explaining alternative treatment regimens to their patient, or all those who are engaged in sales.

The architect of choice can significantly improve the quality of people's lives by developing a user-friendly environment. The most successful companies helped people and even won the market thanks to this. Take, for example, iPod and iPhone – it’s not about elegant appearance only, but also because of the simple control.

Small and seemingly insignificant details can have a serious impact on our behavior. A wonderful example can be found - who would have thought! - in a men's toilet at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. An ordinary black fly was painted on each urinal. Men, however, saw not the fly, but a goal. Their attentiveness and accuracy sharply increased. This idea works wonders: the toilets became cleaner and drier by 80%.

How else can you push customers to the right actions? Here are five simple ways.

1. Offer standard options

People's thinking is inert. They do not like to make decisions. Thank back of what you feel when you buy a new mobile phone and it requires new settings. The more expensive the model, the greater the choice: from the background to the melody of the call and the waiting time for redirection. You can either change everything, or leave it as it is. Most people choose the second way, even if it's about something more important than the sound of a call.

Hence are two main conclusions. First, do not underestimate inertia. And secondly, it can be used. If you think that one of the options leads to a better result, fix it as a standard one.

2. Ask about intentions

Sociologists discovered an unexpected fact: one can influence people’s actions by measuring intentions of people. Having voiced an intention, a person is more likely to realize it. If people are asked how regularly they will floss the next week, the respondents will take care of their teeth more often.

3. Remove obstacles

Imagine spring flood, when the snow melts in the spring. Their direction is determined by tiny changes in the relief. So for people, insignificant factors can serve as incredible obstacles to desired behavior.

Eliminate small obstacles and you can stimulate right actions. One day, students at Yale University received a compelling lecture on the threat of tetanus. Almost everyone took the information bulletins and said that they were going to be vaccinated. But only 3% got to the medical office.

Others also heard the lecture, but in addition they were given a map of the campus, where the medical office circle highlighted. Then they were asked to check with the weekly schedule, plan the day and time and choose a convenient route. As a result, 28% of students were vaccinated against tetanus.

Eliminate obstacles on the client's way - and he will come.

4. Address opinion of the majority

Numerous studies have shown that people tend to agree with opinion of the majority. Here is an example. A sociologist and his colleagues created a musical website where 14,341 people registered. They were offered a list of songs of unknown bands. It was necessary to listen to a fragment of any song to decide whether to download it. At the same time, participants could see how many times the song was downloaded.

Bottom line: subjects often downloaded songs that were already downloaded by others many times. The same song could become a hit or a fail just because someone first decided to download it or vice versa.

Tell your customers that many have already made a choice in favor of your product - use social influence.

5. Set the reference point

We can influence choice of a person by proposing a point of reference for his thought process. When charities collect donations, they usually offer options of $ 100, 250, 1000, 5000, and "other amount." Such numbers are not accidental. Donations will be more with options $ 100, 250, 1000 and 5000, not with $ 50, 75, 100 and 150.

In many areas, the more you ask, the more you get. Lawyers who bring suits to cigarette manufacturers often win astronomical sums, partly because they successfully pushed the judges to multi-million pegs. Set a benchmark to facilitate decision making.

Remember that the architect of choice not only pushes, but also bears responsibility.

These simple techniques will help gently nudge customers to choose a specific option. Use them to create convenient selection architecture and facilitate decision making. However, do not abuse it, because to deliver happiness should be above everything.

based upon “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein




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