Tag Archive for: customer satisfaction

Am I Satisfied? Satisfied Compared to What?

I’m a pretty loyal customer. Once I find a product or store I like I generally stick with them unless something bad happens or I realize I can get a significantly better deal elsewhere. When it comes to running shoes I’ve bought all of mine at Fleet Feet for the past five or six years. They have a wide selection, competitive prices, and let you try out the shoes on a treadmill while filming you, so you can see how your foot strikes the ground. If you’re a runner you know that’s important. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve gotten to know the owner, Tim Flahaven, since meeting him at the Columbus Marathon Expo many years ago.
Because I’ve been a loyal customer, I got a $25 gift certificate in the mail earlier in the year. That’s a nice gesture and great way to keep customers loyal. If there’s one thing better than a new pair of running shoes it’s getting those shoes at a sweet deal and $25 off qualifies! I didn’t need new shoes when I got the gift certificate so I decided to hold off on buying a new pair.
A couple of weeks ago I saw the store was having a sidewalk sale with savings of 15%-20%. I read the gift certificate and sales promo rather closely a few times and didn’t see anywhere that stated I couldn’t combine the two. Even though I still didn’t need new shoes I decided to go get a pair because the savings would be $40-$45!
When I got to the register I was disappointed to find out I couldn’t combine the two promotional items. It wasn’t the store’s fault, I just misread both promotions. Once the young lady helping me pointed it out it I saw it was clearly stated. So I bought my shoes saving $25, but didn’t feel as good about the purchase as I thought I would on the drive to the store. This post isn’t about Fleet Feet because they did nothing wrong. The post is about my perception and how it impacted my experience. In the psychology of persuasion I often talk about something Dr. Robert Cialdini calls the “contrast phenomenon.” This describes the reality that we experience things differently depending on what immediately precedes the experience.
Imagine you’re a student who signed up for a tough class, one you were hoping to get a B in because you heard the professor can be rough. Low and behold, you’re doing well and start thinking you’ll get an A! I bet you’d be disappointed if you ended up with a B…the grade you were originally hoping for. On the flip side, if you were struggling and expecting a C but got a B then chances are you would be very happy. The satisfaction with the B grade all depended on what you were comparing it to and going from a C to a B is much better than A to B.
Regarding my purchase, I knew saving $25 was a sweet deal, as I acknowledged earlier, and it was a purchase I was looking forward to at the right time. The fact that I didn’t enjoy the buying experience as much as I thought I would was a direct result of thinking I was going to possibly save $40-$45. In my example above, a B is a B and with my purchase, $25 off is $25 off. However, in both cases, the resulting feeling depends on the starting point, sometimes known as an “anchor.”
Please don’t take my story as any dissatisfaction with Fleet Feet. Far from it, because none of the reasons I buy my shoes there has changed. Some of you may be thinking the store should have honored both promotional items but I would disagree because that’s a recipe for some people to take advantage. I should have been wearing my “readers” when I looked at both coupons. A store should honor their mistakes, not the customer’s. If you live in the Columbus area or ever visit I encourage you to stop by the store and ask for Tim because you’ll get the right shoe for your running style and foot at a competitive price.
Last but not least, for those who are curious; when it comes to running shoes I’m a Brooks man and my preference has always been the Adrenaline shoe.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.