I was doing some research on the decision making process and I ran into an interesting web site that demonstrates several decision making heuristics. There are several interesting demonstrations on there; I really liked the demonstrations on the simulation and availability heuristics.
The simulation heuristic basically states that the more easily we can imagine a different outcome, the more we will be affected by the outcome that actually occurred. In other words, we get bent out of shape at close calls or near misses because we have an easier time imagining the opposite outcome.
The availability heuristic states that the easier time we have pulling up an example, the more frequent we believe it to be. So if you’re rating a company’s customer service, and can easily think of an example of when you had great customer service, chances are you’re going to rate them high in that area.
This is why it’s a good move to give plenty examples of great customer service or successfully completed projects. This way, they will be much more likely to believe that they’re going have a positive experience. Testimonials fall into this category. And the more similar the person giving the testimonial is to the person reading it, the more effective it will be.
On the other hand, negative experiences are typically much more memorable. Which means that if you sell a product or service, you better avoid those types of experiences.
In other words: don’t piss off your customers.