In psychological terms, context is almost everything. Much as we like to think that we know how we will act and react in a given situation, without the richness of...
I enjoy watching myself as a consumer, in that slightly schizophrenic way that I encourage everyone interested in understanding customers better to do. If you have the right framework you can learn a lot about the way in which other people make decisions by watching how you make a decision – after all, you’re a person aren’t you?
The challenge is always to split out that part of you that consciously post-rationalises what you do in a totally bogus way. If you can learn to tell yourself that, deep down, you’re smart, sexy, clever and incredibly good at parking a car, you can put your ego to one side for a few minutes and observe what you’re doing as a consumer.
You’ll have a reasonable idea that you’re on the right track when you spot yourself doing things that are impulsive, irrational, poorly judged and altogether a bit dumb.
Recently, I had to choose between two suppliers for a fairly major contract. Both put in a huge amount of work to provide their quotes and I felt both would have been excellent solutions for my needs. But I could only choose one.
So I thought I would give as considered a response as possible to the firm that I wasn’t choosing, in the hope it would help them.
I’ve included it below.
Thank you for visiting me yesterday and providing the above quote in such a timely fashion.
I’m writing to inform you that I have decided to use another company. The decision was incredibly hard and made all the more difficult by the fact that the specifications suggested by the companies I spoke to differed substantially, making a simple price comparison impossible (not that it was ever solely a matter of price).
In your position I would be keen to understand why I had not been chosen over a competitor. In this case it was a matter of finding it almost impossible to make a choice, opting to speak to the firm that I had spoken to first to try and resolve the best route forward and, as a result of that conversation, opting to go with the person who was giving me advice at that time.
During the conversation I was better able to understand the reasons for them recommending the unit they had (a slightly higher specification), was able to appreciate the benefit of features they suggested, and they agreed to add in an additional item. I was happier with the idea of a wired system over a wireless one (given wireless problems we’ve experienced in the past), and they remembered from their visit that the necessary cabling could be routed quite easily.
Of course these differences are changes that could easily be incorporated into your own quote. However, as a consumer there comes a point where the complexities involved risk one never making a decision, and at some point it becomes necessary to “jump in” even though you know that you don’t have perfect data.
I was hugely impressed by your company’s professionalism and, as you’re no doubt aware from your commercial success, my selection of a competitor was no reflection on your approach.
Thank you again for supplying me with a quote