Offer choice to create a distinctiveness: customer experience 4

Post by Anna Eggleton, Managing Partner and Head of Service Brand

This is the fourth of a series of posts on making your customer experience more distinctive and it looks at how to build commitment through offering choice. When we are faced with difficult or uncomfortable decisions, research indicates that choice helps reduce the stressfulness of the decision. Also, once we have made a choice we tend to feel greater ownership and feel more committed to a positive outcome – having partly created the solution we feel some responsibility. Some companies have capitalised on this principle, ‘baking the brand in’ to a moment of choice to create a distinctive brand property and in doing so, ‘building commitment through choice’

1. Starbucks – Fulfilling your choice.

Starbucks promise to make everything from your coffee to porridge ‘just the way you like it’. They do this by offering a wide range of ways for customers to customize their purchases and also write your name on your cup. This changes a cup of coffee into a cup of coffee designed by you and then made to your specifications by skilled experts. It’s no longer a Starbucks coffee its your coffee –just the way you like it.

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2. Premier Inn – Reinforcing their expertise

Premier Inn, the budget hotel chain, offer a choice of pillows, something also provided by other hotels. The brand adds distinctiveness by  giving you advice on which pillow matches your sleep position best. This helps reinforce the brand's expertise in helping you get a good night's sleep, which is the focus of Premier Inn's positioning, backed up by a "Good Night Guarantee".

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3. Boots Hearingcare– Making a major decision more confidently.

One of Boots Hearingcare’s key points of difference is offering a wide range of hearing aids, from which customers are encouraged to make their own choice. This allows them to find a solution that meets their hearing needs as well as their budget. Boots position the role of their audiologist as being there to help patients make an informed decision. This takes the stress out of the purchase and reinforces Boots' medical expertise, underpinning the brand philosophy of being ‘the feel good specialists’.

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In conclusion, offering choice is important to help customers feel more relaxed about their decisions and more engaged with the purchase. Brands can capitalise on this by building brand properties around these moments of choice to drive distinctiveness.