Freelancing is the ultimate bet for the commitment phobic experts who don’t want to be tied down to one company. You can cheer if you are a freelancer because the sector is only growing. According to a survey, more than 60% of companies expected to hire more freelancers.  There are clearly many benefits of hiring freelancers:

  •    It’s more affordable than hiring a full-time employee.
  •    They usually take up very few projects at a time, so you can guarantee that they are focused on yours.
  •    They are experienced in the nuances of the business and don’t require training.
  •    They are much faster at completing projects.

At the same time, understanding your customers better is absolutely indispensable if you want to stand out from the crowd. You have to understand how they think, know what they want, and be wary of signs of customer dissatisfaction.   Consumer psychology is dedicated to understanding what goes on in a customer’s mind. Freelancers should invest in it, to better help their business and their clients. I looked at some surveys and research in consumer behaviour to find out what customer traits a freelancer can use to their advantage. Here are some customer traits you should know.  

  1. If given a choice, the client will choose the easier one

When faced with a choice, we choose the path of least resistance. At the New York office of Google, an experiment was conducted with M&Ms. Behavioural economist Dan Ariely showed that putting the free M&Ms around Google’s offices in jars with lids instead of open bowls reduced consumption by about 3 million pieces per month. Yes, even the effort to open a lid to get a ‘reward’ proves to be too much effort. Make things as easy as possible for the customer. Don’t ask if they want to opt in, rather ask if they want to opt out. They will stick to whatever you suggested simply because saying no takes effort. This really isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Consider this research that analyses organ donation programs. European countries requiring you to actively indicate that you consent to donate got around  20% consent rates. However, countries where you had to opt out of organ donation had about 80% of consent rate. It’s not that one country had more morally sound citizens, but the type of choice that was given that made all the difference. Use it to your advantage: Make the transaction and process as effortless as possible for your client. Keep them involved but don’t make the choices too complicated.  

  1. A slow website is a customer’s pet peeve

We live in a world where it takes seconds to close deals. Any delay can lead to a deal going south. Keeping your website up to speed should be a priority. There could be many reasons that your website has turned slow like unoptimized images, design issues, too many ads or bulky code. The big players take website loading time very seriously. The Google page loads in about 737 milliseconds. Speed is important for too, which loads about 5.6MB in around 3.19 seconds. It’s that kind of speed that keeps them at the top of their game. Good speed also affects the Google ranking of your page. Use it to your advantage: Eliminate any widgets, videos or code that takes too much time to load. You could lose half your sales if the website is too slow, as 51% American users say that site slowness is the reason they abandon a purchase.  

  1. Customer’s need it done NOW!

As a freelancer, you need to make sure that you are able to be really quick with your deliverables. Customers require immediacy. They don’t like waiting on a product for long and can turn disloyal if delays occur. In a survey, 89% said that having access to real-time product availability would influence their shopping choices. Amazon says it will be able to shop 86% of its deliveries in under 30 minutes with short range drones. Since Amazon is the biggest in the business, they are continuously looking for ways to cut down on their delivery time, as it affects customer experience. Use it to your advantage: This comes back to old school punctuality. As a freelancer you have fewer commitments than a full-fledged company. This allows you time to focus and speed up your projects. Offer to finish your customer’s work on an earlier date than expected. They will keep you in mind when they have work next time around.  

  1. Clients want a story to tell

‘Self’ has a new definition. It isn’t just who we are in real life, but also who we are in our virtual life. Our online lives matter just as much as our offline one. As a social media user, you would know how much people love sharing their experiences online–whether it’s their wedding photos or their first salary or the time they tried bungee jumping. As consumers, we want the products that we use to add to our online reality. This trend has been called ‘the sharded self’ by LS:N Global– an international trends network giving consumer insights. We are no longer just accumulating products, we are more interested in accumulating experiences. Use it to your advantage: As a part of the sharded self, your client lives a storified life. Having a grand narrative that shows off their experiences to their contacts is important to them. It is a validation of being part of a bigger picture. Your brand must evolve to satisfy this need. What story can your product or service help them narrate?  

  1.  A customer may or may not be happy about waiting, depending on what you are selling

There is a bit of psychology involved behind how much a customer is willing to wait. In a paper about consumption profiles, they show that how long the customer will wait for the product depends on whether they are buying a material product or an experience. The anticipation of experiential purchases is more pleasurable than the anticipation of material goods. This has an impact on when people choose to consume. Results show that people prefer to delay their consumption of experiential purchases while preferring to consume material purchases more immediately. They book a table at restaurant in advance, they buy tickets to the show beforehand, and they plan their trips ahead of time. They look forward experiential purchases without needing immediately. However, when it comes to purchasing a ‘thing,’ the customer prefers immediacy. If the customer is kept waiting for too long, they get angry, frustrated and anxious. Use it to your advantage: Based on whether you are selling a product or experience, you now know what duration your customer would be willing to wait. They would want to milk the opportunity of an experience whereas need a tangible product sooner.  

  1. Loyal customers can overlook pricing

Sometimes, freelancers are afraid to hike their prices because they feel that they could lose out on their loyal customers. According to a study, customers that stay for a long time with your business are  less price sensitive. If they’ve already made repeat purchases from you, chances are that they aren’t going to your competitors. There is already an established trust, work ethic and familiarity which decreases the need for a price objective. Use it to your advantage: Make sure that you maintain a good relationship with your client so that they will always choose you. You can hike up your prices, but make sure it isn’t too steep. Explain to your customer what the increase in price is for. Conclusion Customers prefer brands that listen and understand them. As a freelancer, keeping these customer traits in mind will give you the edge. Studying consumer behaviour can help better serve and understand the customers.

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