Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Why do customers do what they do?

Recently, I was reminded of a passage from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. The answer to the question of life and everything is: 42. That in itself is the source of a plethora of questions... but that is another story in itself. 

This got me thinking though about the golden question about customers... "Why do customers do what they do?". Like the age old question about "life and everything", this one also does not have a clear and finite answer. You can pick up a number or a reason from the air, so to speak, and try to explain customer situations to those numbers. I say "try", because they will not always be explainable... many times you will attribute them as "outliers" or "special conditions". 

Bottom line is that, the customer psychology is a very complex being and not something you can define in terms of mathematics or logic. There is a lot of emotion attached to any action that a customer takes. 

To get anywhere close to what a customer is thinking about, you need to better understand the context in which he/she is making a decision. If you understand the context correctly, you know more about what is influencing the decision... what are the problems that the customer is facing... and so on and so forth. That in itself can help you figure out the path the customer will take... is your product or service going to be even a consideration in the decision or not... 

In my experience, you can more accurately forecast the results of a customer interaction if you know what is driving the customer to start with. The journey (and challenges during it) are more important than the destination. Thus the context is more important than the answer... 

Think about it... I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What are your customers thinking? Do you really know? 

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