How to Empower Your Customer. Principles of Empowerment that Influence Customer Decision Making and Purchasing Process

How to Empower Your Customer – Empowering Customers

Empowering customers requires that a solid relationship and performance history be already established with the customer.

Empowerment involves trusting others to make important decisions and to take action. Empowering customers enables them to make critical decisions concerning doing business with you. This goes beyond the normal decisions that a customer might make such as the quality, delivery time, reorder point, etc., that would normally be part of their buying process.

Empowering the customer puts him or her in control of many of the decisions and actions that you might normally control.

This way the customer is not totally dependent on you to get the product or service that you provide. Ultimately, everyone’s needs are met in a more effective and efficient manner.

How to Empower Your Customer

The objective of empowering the customer is to streamline the buying process as much as possible and provide you the opportunity to be of service to the customer in even more important and value- added ways. It is not simply “dumping” your work off onto the customer, nor is it an abdication of your responsibilities to the customer in any way.

Empowering the customer involves enabling them to make more decisions and take more actions concerning buying your product or service. It puts much of the control of the buying process in the hands of the customer.

How to Empower the Customer

Everyone wants to be able to be more in control of those factors that are important to them, and your customers are no different. The concept and principles of empowerment involve moving decision making and even problem solving to those who are in the best positions to accept these responsibilities. There are a number of ways to empower your customers as part of their decision- making and purchasing process. The following are just a few of the ways to empower your customers:

  • Empower the customer to be able to reorder from you without your involvement.
  • Empower customers to contact your suppliers directly.
  • Empower customers to be involved in your pricing decisions.
  • Empower customers to provide input into marketing decisions for your company.
  • Empower customers to resolve problems concerning your product/service by themselves.
  • Empower customers to contact different people and resources within your organization directly without having to go through you first.
  • Empower customers to give you feedback about the quality of your product or services without you asking for it.

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How To Understand Buyer’s Purchasing Decision

How To Understand Buyer’s Purchasing Decision – Marketers are affected by exogenous variables, those beyond our control. These include social, cultural, political, legal, technological, scientific, economic, and competitive factors. Although marketers may not be able to prevent certain events or scenarios from taking place, they are nonetheless potentially able to anticipate such occurrences and can make contingency plans to address these changes. The key point here is to be proactive rather than reactive, to be an initiator rather than a victim of circumstances otherwise beyond your control.

How To Understand Buyer’s Purchasing Decision

How To Understand Buyer’s Purchasing Decision

9 Dimensions of Buyer Perception

The reasons that people decide to make a purchase or decline to do so can be boiled down to two primary dimensions and seven secondary dimensions that are corollaries of the primary ones.

Primary Dimensions

1) Perceived Risk

Potential customers ask themselves, “How can this product harm me”? The greater the marketer’s success in diminishing this perception of risk, the greater the likelihood of the purchase.

2) Relative Advantage

Potential customers also ask, “How is this product better for me than my other alternatives?” The greater the marketer’s success in increasing the perception of relative advantage associated with your product, the greater the likelihood of the purchase.

Secondary Dimensions

3) Observability

“Can the product’s benefits be seen?” The more observable the benefits,
the less the perceived risk and the greater the relative advantage.
This might help to explain why it is often more difficult to sell services
(which are not tangible) than it is to sell products (which are
tangible). Astute marketers add value (or the perception of it) by
including easy-to-use owner’s manuals and by remaining in close
touch with their customers, calling to their attention positive benchmarks
or milestones. For example, an automobile dealer might call
customers on the annual anniversary of a purchase to congratulate
them and (not coincidentally) to inform or remind them that one year
has passed without the need for any more than routine maintenance.

4) Immediacy

“How soon will I see these benefits?” The more immediate the benefits,
the less the perceived risk and the greater the relative advantage.
(See the section “Postpurchase Dissonance” later in this chapter.)

5) Complexity

“Is the product difficult to understand and use?” The more complex
the product is perceived to be, the less the relative advantage and the
greater the perceived risk.

6) Compatibility

“Is product’s usage congruent with my attitudes, opinions, and belief systems?” The more compatible the product is with one’s belief system, the less the perceived risk and the greater the relative

7) Trialability

“Can I use the product without making a permanent commitment?”
The greater the opportunity to try the product, the less the perceived
risk and the greater the relative advantage. Options can include
refunds and exchanges, and, in the case of lease arrangements,
upgrades. Ultimately, customer-focused marketers must assume risks
relating to trialability. If the product has merit and delivers on its
claims, the issue is merely academic. If, however, customers are displeased
with the product and choose to exercise their right of redress,
marketers should view this as a cost of doing business, albeit potentially

8) Divisibility

“Can I buy the product in a smaller quantity or size or otherwise
limit my purchase?” The smaller the quantity the customer can buy
at one time, the less the perceived risk and the greater the relative
advantage. While this is not physically possible for certain types of
transactions (i.e., one can’t buy one-half of a car), minimum quantity
requirements can be waived so that initial orders can be regarded, in
effect, as “samples” for which the customer pays.

9) Availability

“Are the product and its related accessories or services available to
me?” The more available the product, the less the perceived risk and
the greater the relative advantage. Increasingly, the focus is shifting
from the “core” product to accessories, on the part of the consumer as
well as the marketer. For example, anyone who has bought video game
hardware (e.g., Nintendo) will probably have ended up spending more
for the software accessories (e.g., additional programs for games) than
they originally spent for the primary video game product.

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