Six ways to get customers hooked


Rebecca Burn-Callander Enterprise Editor

November 19, 2014

Want to build up your brand and win customers? Follow these tips

Nir Eyal, entrepreneur, Stanford lecturer and the author of the new book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, explains how to get your customer coming back time and time again.

1. Engage often

“Frequency is key,” Eyal says. “Research shows the more often people do a particular behaviour, the more likely they are to form a habit.”

2 Define the behaviour

“Far too many companies are too vague in what they want customers to do,” Eyal says. Start by asking yourself what specific action or behaviour you want to make into a habit for your customers?’ For example, if you’re creating an app, the habitual action might be to simply open it. The more specific you are in defining the behaviour you want to influence, the better you can design for it.

3. Emote

“Habit-forming products create associations with everyday routines or feelings,” says Eyal. Negative emotions, such as loneliness or boredom, are often the most powerful triggers for action. “Make sure you know what ‘itch’ you’re scratching.”

4. Ease of use

“The harder something is to do, the less likely people are to do it.” Eyal says, and there are six factors affecting customer ability: time, money, physical effort, complexity, social deviance and “non-routine”. Focus on these six factors and work on making the intended action easier, simpler and consequently, more habitual.

5. Play guessing games

The reason why gambling is addictive, movies are entertaining and games are fun, is because the good ones have an element of surprise.” What’s the uncertainty built into your product? Does it satisfy your customer’s desire or need, but also leave them wanting just a little bit more?”

6. Get customers to invest

Find small ways to ask customers to invest to keep them coming back. For iTunes, value is stored for customers in songs, playlists and a personal collection. For Twitter it’s followers; on eBay, it’s seller reputation. For Starbucks it’s loyalty cards and points accrued. What bit of work are your customers doing to increase the likelihood of returning?

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