Does choice lead to customer satisfaction? No / Yes / Maybe

In a fascinating presentation given by Professor Barry Scwartz the concept of customer choice was explored. To paraphrase his findings, “Though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don't seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.”

Here's a video of his presentation from 2005:



It seems when faced with multiple options, the process of choosing becomes overwhelming. It can also lead to elevated expectations...after all, with so many choices available surely one of them must be perfect? If our choice ultimately fails to deliver perfection, we begin to wonder if another option may have been better. A vicious circle of dissatisfaction can begin!!

A diagram illustrating the impact of excess choice on customer satisfaction:
From our research on shopper behavior and customer decision making, we would agree that excess choice can often lead to dissatisfaction. Indeed we've found that choice is only valuable if it can be processed through a support system or decision-making framework. For example, our studies have shown that segmentation according to psychological or emotional motivations can improve the buying process and lead to higher post purchase satisfaction.

A diagram illustrating choice in an emotional decision making framework:
So what could you take away from this? Choice can lead to customer dissatisfaction if it isn’t done properly. More is not always better; and a GOOD decision is only possible within the context of a GOOD decision making framework.

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