Business Magazine

How Giving Customers Too Much Might Actually Hurt Sales

By Stacylrust


Is it possible to give your customers too much value? If you give your customers WAY more than they pay for, could you be hurting your sales?

Students from Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon decided to run a few studies to find out. Let’s take a look at those studies…

Study #1: Truffles

This study investigates how response to food determines the number of days that pass before the food is consumed again. Specifically, the study examines how quantity of food affects when the food will be consumed again.

In this study, 43 participants were divided into 2 groups. Group #1 was given 1 Lindor truffle to eat, Group #2 was given 4 truffles (yum).

All participants were given a coupon for a free bag of truffles to be redeemed at any time during the next 2 weeks. Needless to say 100% of the participants did in fact redeem the coupon.

Here were the results…

Group #1 redeemed the coupon in 3.91 days on average. Group #2 redeemed the coupon in 7.75 days on average.

The study suggests that the more satisfied (or full) one is after consuming a particular food, the longer time will lapse before consuming it again.

Study #2: Crackers

This study examines how satisfaction at the end of consumption dictates the length of time to expect before the next consumption.

In this study, 139 participants were divided into 2 groups. Group #1 was given 5 crackers to eat. Group #2 was given 15 crackers.

Each participant was offered a free box of crackers and was asked in a survey when they’d like that box delivered. Group #1 participants requested the box in 8.46 days on average, while the participants in Group #2 requested the box in 24.91 days on average.

What do these studies prove?

The results show that (at least in regards to food), the more full and satisfied you leave your customer, the LONGER it will be before you see them again.

And this makes sense, right? As a consumer, I know that if I stuff myself with ice cream it will be a while before I want ice cream again. And if I leave the ice cream shop miserably full, it will be a long time before I feel the urge to come back.

The American restaurant industry can take special note of this phenomenon, as it has a tendency to inflate portion sizes. It turns out, the more we give people, the less frequently they want to consume our product. The more “full and satisfied” you leave your customers, the longer it will be before you see them again.

And, maybe this applies to other industries as well. Maybe our tendencies to over-deliver are leaving our customers too “full”, which is why we don’t see them as often as we could.

As business owners, we need to do a better job of managing our customers’ “satisfaction tank”. We want to make sure that tank is always full, but maybe not overflowing.

If we feed our customers to the point of bursting, when they are finished “consuming” our products, they will be left feeling overwhelmed and if possible, over-satisfied. The trick is to keep them happy, but ready to come back for more.

It’s important to find that balance between making sure customers feel taken care of, without overwhelming them, or leaving them overly-full.

When I first started consulting, I often over-delivered with my clients. I’d bury them in information about how to improve their business, update their website, and optimize their social media.

I learned quickly that I was leaving them frazzled with all the new information I was giving them. I didn’t give them enough time to digest. While I believed I was providing them with extra value (giving them a great volume of information for their investment), I was really just frustrating them. They were so overloaded with information that it became hard for them to actually make progress.

By over-delivering, I was actually hurting their chances of success.

While it’s always important to run an upstanding, ethical business and give people a good value, remember to make it digestible. What do your customers really want? A meal that leaves them happy and satisfied, or a meal that makes them want to roll out of your restaurant in a wheelbarrow?

While it might seem counter-intuitive, there is such a thing as getting “too much for your money”. Think about the whole picture. What does your customer really need from you? What volume of product or service will actually satisfy their needs without leaving them too full?

What are your thoughts? Is it possible to deliver too much to your customers? Have you ever experienced this? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Sara V

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