When I am shopping on Amazon, and a product has 3.5 stars, I don’t buy it. Now, 3.5 stars isn’t a bad rating; in fact, it’s above average. However, for me to place that item in my Amazon cart, it needs to have a rating of at least four stars or more. My behavior on Amazon is part of a broader concept called Negativity Bias, and it’s a massive influence on customer behavior.
This episode of The Intuitive Customer discusses the concept of Negativity Bias and how it affects people’s behavior in your Customer Experience. We also share some positive ways you can make negativity work in your favor.
Negativity Bias describes how we emphasize negative information over positive and find it more compelling for decision-making. It’s the reason we remember negative reviews more than positive ones. It’s also why we think about what could go wrong in specific situations rather than what could go right.
Here are a few more things you should know about Negativity Bias:
We all have a negativity bias. This bias is not reserved for a particular type of person or demographic. A compulsion to remember and focus on the negative is a psychological concept that we all share, and it affects all of us in different ways regarding how we behave.
Negativity Bias is related to Loss Aversion. Loss Aversion describes how we feel more pain from losing things than gaining things makes us feel good. Negativity Bias is a focus on the negative, which is a focus on the potential loss. It can lead to less rational decision-making. However, it can also motivate us to improve the situation too.
Negativity Bias leads to specific actions to protect oneself. As customers dealing with uncertainty, as we often are when trying a product or service for the first time, we tend to take a what-could-go-wrong perspective. To prevent the potential bad outcome, we take specific actions to avoid it. These actions could include scrolling through customer reviews (focusing on the bad ones), buying only from brand names we know and trust, or looking for referrals from friends and family.
While a little Negativity Bias can do good, too much only leads to bad. A focus on the negative can lead to good things, like process improvements or problem-solving exercises. However, too much stress there can lead to a skewed world view. It can lead to making poor decisions or missing the good things that are happening in an experience.
There are a few ways that you can use the Negativity Bias to get a good outcome. These include:
- Perform periodic checks of negative assessments to ensure that you have a realistic view of the situation. It is essential to determine if the negative feelings you have about your customer experience or business performance are based on objective measures or not. It’s great to use Negativity Bias to motivate improvements, but it shouldn’t squeeze the life out of your organization either. Remember to highlight success and reward good outcomes whenever possible.
- Remember that everyone tends to focus on the negative, including customers. When you understand how it works for people’s perception, you can counteract its effects with specific tactics. Look for ways to mitigate the Negative Bias’ poor outcomes for your bottom line by addressing it in your Customer Experience.
- Provide people with solutions in today’s negative environment. Without a doubt, a global pandemic inspires quite a bit of Negativity Bias. Your customers feel it, and if you can find ways to be helpful in light of the present challenges, it will pay off later when customers remember this time. In other words, you can build customer loyalty by taking extra care of customers right now when they need you.
- Communicate positively. Understand how customers can glean the negative much more quickly than the positive and take special care to positively frame your messaging. Whether in direct customer communication channels or advertising, keeping the message positive is essential to inspiring customer-driven growth. An outside perspective can help you maintain positivity in your experience. Our Experience Health Check, where we pretend we are customers and then give you specific recommendations to improve your experience, can give you a fresh set of eyes on your communication efforts throughout the customer journey.
- Remember that fixing problems is good, but not always the best opportunity in your experience. Organizations often want to focus on what is going wrong in experience and fix it. That is a good instinct. However, many times in our Emotional Signature Research®, we discover that customers have other wants and needs that present a much more significant opportunity than fixing the various problems in the experience. While we aren’t saying that you should ignore problems, we are saying to keep an open mind about addressing other opportunities in your experience that might yield a better return on investment in the long term.
To discuss this further contact us at www.BeyondPhilosophy.com
About Beyond Philosophy:
Beyond Philosophy help organizations unlock growth by discovering customers’ hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($). We then capitalize on this by improving your customer experience to meet these needs thereby retaining and acquiring new customers across the market.