Acumen Presents: Dan Ariely on Changing Customer Behavior
You’ve probably heard of Dan either through his NY Times bestseller, Predictably Irrational, or through one of his many Ted Talks on behavioral economics. He’s an expert on what motivates behavior, and the psychology behind motivation and decision.
And now he wants you to use his knowledge to help your business succeed in his new course on Udemy!
As an entrepreneur, studying and understanding the behavior of your customers is incredibly valuable – don’t just assume you know what they’re thinking. As Dan will tell you in his course, we’re very often wrong about what we think will motivate people.
Here are just 3 of his astonishing tips from understanding people that you can apply to your business:
Information Is Not The Answer
Sounds kind of weird, right? As Dan explains, it’s a common misconception, and smoking is the best example of this.
As soon as the information came out about cigarettes being bad for us (like, literally giving us cancer and killing us), a huge public information campaign started to try and get people to quit: commercials, PSAs, even the Surgeon’s General Warning on the pack of cigarettes saying how bad they are.
As you might have guessed, it didn’t convince anyone.
Giving customer’s information doesn’t actually have that much of an effect on their behavior. They might listen to you, they might remember it, and they might even think of you while they do what you told them not to do. But they are very unlikely to change just because you told them a better way of doing things.
There are other things you need to do besides just tell them why your idea will help them – it’s not enough to make them change.
Even If It’s Really Easy, They Still Won’t Do It
Entrepreneurs have an amazing idea, and they think: “all the customer needs to do is fill out this extra form/mail back this letter/shop here instead – that’s easy!”
Well, it may be true, but that is not how your customer thinks. People don’t like bumps, they don’t like extra work (even a little bit!), and they don’t like change.
Take Dan’s example:
People had a current prescription for a brand-name medication. They were mailed a form and told that all they had to do was return it with a confirmation that they would like to switch to the generic prescription, and save money in the process. What do you think happened?
Well, of course you know where this is going. It converted exactly no one.
They even went a step further and offered to pay for their medications for a period of time, if they would just switch to the generic brand! Even then, almost no one switched.
What got them to switch?
Forcing the issue. They had to take away the customer’s choice of doing nothing – the customer had to mail back the letter saying they wanted to continue with the brand-name medication, or mail it back saying they would switch to generic – but they didn’t have an option to not mail it back. Lo and behold, almost 90% of customers switched to the generic brand.
We Still Care A Lot About Fitting In
It sounds like high school stuff that we should have outgrown by now, but believe it or not, the belief that we’re doing what everyone else is doing – social proof – is one of the most powerful motivators for behavior change.
Dan explains this with an experiment done on how to convince people to use less energy, and attempting to convince them with one of three arguments: it helps the environment, it saves them money, or everyone else is doing it.
The most interesting thing about this is that people don’t think it works. When polled on which technique they thought would be most effective, people said that they personally would be affected by it saving the environment, but other people would be influenced by the money-saving aspect of it. No one thought that telling people everyone else was doing it would work.
Of course, it did. In fact, it was the only thing that worked.
Tell Me More!
Of course, there’s so much more that you can apply from psychology and behavioral economics to your business. Dan wants to help you hack your customers’ behaviors to make your methods more successful and your business more impactful – or as he would say, everyone else is taking it, don’t you want to join?
You’ll learn how to influence your customers’ behavior, how to get them to want to use your product, how to design a valuable and desirable product in the first place, and even how to run experiments to see how effective your behavior-change methods are.
So what are you waiting for? ENROLL NOW!