What your customers need (that your competition isn’t giving them)

Picture yourself sitting down having a chat with your colleagues (perhaps in an office or meeting room you’re used to seeing).

You’re having a routine conversation – nothing out of the ordinary. When all of a sudden a giant 300-lb masked intruder busts through the door….stomps over to the table where you’re seated…and violently flips it over.


Cue spilled coffee, broken mugs, and documents scattered all over the room in a storm of confusion.

Right after this unexpected event happens – are the routine topics you were just discussing the first thing on your mind?


In fact, you’ll probably struggle to think about anything else for the rest of the day.

When an event has come along and disrupted your life, your focus shifts to what just happened – why that happened – and what it means for you.

And the bigger this event, the bigger the focus you’ll give to it.

As a result it can feel impossible to go back to what we normally do or think. A big reason for this is because we now feel like we’ve lost control of our situation.

You can think of 2020 as one huge example of this.

During a crisis or unexpected disruption, the first thing to fly out the window is our sense of control. And our first instinct is to RESTORE this sense of control ASAP.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

Behavioral Expert Kurt Gray reveals that this is a big opportunity for businesses in the know.

That’s because right now, your customers fit this behavior to a T.

As a result of the massive disruption that is 2020, what they want most right now is to restore their sense of control. 

Why? Because their sense of control helps them feel safe. It relieves the stress and pressure of everything else going on. As a result, it carries a huge amount of psychological weight.

So if you can help your customers feel safe again – even in non-obvious ways – you can position yourself in a way none of your competitors are even thinking about.

But interestingly enough – even a PERCEIVED sense of control can be a valuable substitute for the real thing.

If your product, service or messaging can help customers feel like they’re moving in the right direction, then that’s enough to trigger strong positive associations with your brand.

So how can we implement this?

Kurt explains that businesses need to make things “not too different” than they were before in order to help people feel a greater sense of control.

And an excellent way to do this is to give your customers more options in how they’re able to interact with your brand and your product or service.

Giving people options makes them feel in control and therefore feel better about your product/service — even if the options weren’t that much different than they were before.

So the first question to ask yourself is: 

How can I give my customers more options through how our product or service is delivered to them?

For restaurants, it can be as simple as giving patrons the option to sit where they want (as opposed to having a strict enforced seating policy due to the pandemic). Another example of this is with a recent crisis situation we handled for a client. Their customers felt out of control with the pandemic and outraged with not getting a refund. 

Our client needed to win them back over quickly if they wanted to avoid a public outcry as well as social media backlash. 

To fix this, we gave customers three options to choose from in order for them to regain a sense of control. 

These options were:

  1. Partial refund with an incentive to take a deal by a certain date;
  2. New and different experience in the future; and
  3. Choose the option presented previously.

These options were communicated, articulated clearly and provided as quickly as possible. And this led to something interesting.

Customers were much less irate – because the issue they were most concerned about turned into what option they would pick instead of how unfair things were. 

As a result, the crisis situation was squashed and our client was delighted.  But that’s not the only way – another great option to give your customers more control is to set their expectations in advance.

People instinctively hate change – and we’ve got enough of that going around as it is. That’s why instead of announcing sudden changes out of the blue (especially if it’s concerning a product or service they’re used to having a certain way), you need to let them know what’s coming.

Here’s the kicker — even if the news is BAD. Yup, you read that right.  

The fact that they can brace themselves in advance can make a world of a difference. As a result, you’ll mitigate the negative response to a change they see as undesirable. 

This might sound small, but setting the right expectation can make a world of a difference in minimizing backlash and stopping your customers from switching over to another brand or product.

So if you’ve got any upcoming changes planned (especially with your current products or services) then give your customers the breathing room they need to process it first. And for bonus points, give them an option as to how they’d like to receive the change. 

Do this and you’ll be one of the very few companies that’s aligned with your customers deepest desires.

And that is a very powerful spot to stay in.

Our next email will talk about “Symbolic Stress” – and why it can be a game-changer in your messaging once you address it (plus a one-word trick to help you do this easily).

Talk Soon,

Adele and Chip

P.S. Get personalized feedback for your situation

If you’re interested in implementing the content I shared above – but want to make sure you do it right – then I invite you to hop on a 15-minute call with me and Chip Massey a former FBI hostage negotiator. We’ll go over a few ways to apply these crucial behavioral concepts to YOUR business so that you come out ahead in 2020. This call is absolutely free of charge. If you’d like to schedule one, click here. 

P.P.S. Download our free report

Want a special PDF report detailing all of these important communication techniques and strategies – and how to best apply them in a business setting? Click here to grab your free copy.

P.P.P.S.Work with us 1-on-1

Can’t afford to make any missteps in 2020? Need help solving a crisis or spotting your next opportunity based  on our Behavioral Science Brain Trust? We can help — schedule a call to learn about our services: https://calendly.com/chipmassey