Individuality vs. Herd Mentality

Two Ways to Incorporate the Wisdom of Individuality and Herd Mentality

We have all been a customer and spent time dwelling on the experiences we have had with a particular product or service. In one form or another, whether we have intended to or not, we likely have participated in some type of customer experience analysis. This could be anything from the local restaurant’s suggestion/complaint box to the rating systems set up around online shopping.

Our participation to provide feedback help companies to get a clear view of what customers are thinking in order to improve the offering or ward off difficulties. Since we are customers as well as suppliers, measuring our customers’ experience with our solutions should be a simple matter.

We’re taught not to settle for less

However, after the data is collected, the crux of the situation comes down to how is this customer feedback properly analyzed for the greatest impact? Or in other words, how can more be done than simply putting out a suggestion/complaint box?

As customers, we all feel as if we are unique and deserve the highest quality. Due to mothers everywhere taking the time each day to tell us how special we are, how can we be faulted for having these high and very individualistic standards? Had our mothers not instilled in us this latent sense of self-confidence, settling for less than we deserve may be easier.

The wisdom of individuality vs. herd mentality

The difficulty with analyzing customers and their experience is viewing these customers as the rare snowflakes they are while still looking across the entire customer base in order to seek out common themes.

Each and every customer has the possibility of providing a suggestion which will improve business. However, any customer experience program will suffer if herd mentality is not taken into consideration. Our mothers may have raised us better than to surrender to peer pressure, but as professionals, we cannot kid ourselves into believing it is not there.

Aspects of herd mentality can be seen in nearly every aspect of market trending, and these are the very themes studying your customers can reveal. But we need to look at our customers and their respective experiences as separate encounters and as a whole.

Two ways to encompass customer experience collectively and individually

1. Look for the areas driving customer perception as a whole. Identify the “herd thinking.” There are pitfalls and cautions which must be taken into account when viewing data this way. One of the largest of these is in only paying attention to the gloom and doom of what is being said to the exclusion of everything else. If there is a problem it should be fixed, but all too often the positive feedback gets pushed aside and is underutilized. Don’t ignore the marketing potential of promoting your customers’ positive experience with you. View this type of herd mentality as a strength by using it in your marketing collateral such as web copy, datasheets, and advertisement.

2. Don’t lose sight of the fact each customer involved is individual. Their mothers were correct to fawn over how special they are, but it is all too easy to view the mountain of information as a whole with the individual pushed aside. One customer discussion can develop a new best practice that may have never been discovered if you were only relying on collective data.

Some of us are familiar with Occam’s razor:

The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Some customers will have the simplest explanation, and it would be detrimental if their voices were drowned and forgotten while the data as a whole is being picked apart.

For the success of any customer experience program we need to look for what’s driving the customer’s experience, the bad without forgetting the good, and looking to how likely our customers are to renew. Once this assessment has been accomplished, the data should be investigated once more with an eye towards what the individual can offer. Combining these factors will give the greatest success in researching customers’ experience with company products and services.

Leighton Allred on sablinkedinLeighton Allred on sabemail
Leighton Allred
Program Analyst at Primary Intelligence
Leighton has been intimately involved in much of the company's services innovation over the past few years, including as a member of the Product Management team for 2 years. Leighton has also served in the military, published a novel, and traveled the world. Leighton has a degree in Electronics and Mechanical Engineering.
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