Is Giving Your Customers More Choice a Good Thing To Do?

I bet you experienced situations when you felt almost “intimidated” by all the choice that was offered to you. You analyzed your options, compared them, then finally decided (or not).

Surprisingly enough, instead of feeling great about the choice you made you felt liberated to finally be done with it. Not much satisfaction at the end.

Apple is great at giving its customer just enough choice, not more. They offer 6 clearly differentiated laptops instead of 20 like their competitors do.

Apple is great at giving its customer just enough choice, not more. They offer 6 clearly differentiated laptops instead of 20 like their competitors do.

To understand this phenomenon and how you can apply it (or get rid off it) in your business watch the following video and come back to finish this article.

Consequence of too much choice

In summary, Barry’s Schwartz presentation argues that our old belief that “more choice means more individual freedom which leads to more well being and more happiness” is not quite true.

Barry is a leading psychologist and argues that there is a certain number of choices that give us satisfaction from choosing and that actually improve our lives. But he believes that our western societies are long past the point (number of choices) in many areas of life were at the end no matter whether we make a good decision or not we will be unhappy.

Why is this important to your business and marketing?

Experiencing “the intimidation” myself I thought about the “choice concept” few times but until this video I could not come to any meaningful conclusions. Now that I know (I think I got it) here is what I think is important to pass on:

1. Don’t assume that by giving your customers more choice will make for a more successful business. Your customers need to be happy at the end of receiving of your services in order to come back. But clearly too much choice can ruin this.

2. Don’t assume people want many options. We like to give lots of options to people when we are trying to market ourselves. We think by giving more choice than a competitor will make them come to us. At the first glance potential clients think that too but the reality is that if you confuse them they will leave. And after few days of rest from making that decisions they will start shopping again…and will likely not even consider you.

3. Improve your service by filtering down the amounts of choices for your client. He/she hired you to do what you are good at and is paying you to do that. Narrowing down the 20 options he can choose from to logical 5 or 10 will improve your service because you used your expertise to eliminate the obvious bad ones. This saves your client time and headaches.

Hence, why people hire wedding planners. It’s not only the time planners save them but it’s also sparing them the headaches (and regrets) from having to choose from hundreds of things hundreds of times.

4. Giving less choice makes your life easier and makes for better decisions for your client. Again, client expects you to deliver good stuff. To achieve that lots of times it is better to really filter down the choice for the sake of your client.

This will also make your life easier since the client won’t be going back and forth once a decision has been made on a specific stage of a project. Simply, if you leave them with little guidance they will be rethinking their past decisions. This will complicate your life as well as make it very possible that an unprofessional decision will be made (in a given field where you should be the expert).

5. Read the client and take responsibility. If you guess a client to be reasonably well equipped with expertise in your field than give them more freedom, more choice. If that’s not the case take responsibility in your hands and make the decisions for the benefit of both of you.

What do you think?

Whether you agree or disagree with my conclusions you are welcome to leave a comment. We will both learn more by sharing. Or maybe not, since too much discussion can leave us with more choices and headaches :)