For the sake of example, let’s assume you purchased a beverage and you pay full price for it. Let’s further assume you received half as much of that beverage as you usually do for that price. You likely will perceive the transaction as having been 50% less valuable to you even though the price was the same as normal. Since perceptions of value are affected by far more than the quantity of an item a customer receives, experience designers seek to drive perceived value across a range of dimensions like product quality, environmental aesthetics, service consistency, and even the gratitude of the provider.

The ultimate goal of this approach is to leverage research on perceived equity to produce customers who will refer your business to others. Equity research has shown that to optimally drive loyalty customers should feel they received slightly more value than they paid for. If they receive less value than they paid for they feel cheated. If they received value commensurate with what they paid, they feel satisfied but they are vulnerable to churn. If they receive far more value than what they paid for they often lose respect for the provider and fear the company will go out of business. So, the optimal end state is to give slightly more value than your customers expect.

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