It is not uncommon for customers to not make the best use of your company's products or services. On the contrary, it can happen often. And that can lead to a bad customer experience and reviews. But their behavior can't just simply be changed overnight. What is there to do?

This problem troubles every industry across the board. Companies can create communication channels to share the right approach with their products and services, but often it is not enough.

Some examples of customers not using the products and services as intended may be:

  • Gym members who don’t follow the best exercises to get fit
  • Certification and course candidates who fail exams because they didn’t follow recommended learning methods to prepare for exams
  • Businesses who don’t utilize the software they purchased
  • People who don’t follow basic guidelines to reduce the risk of contracting a virus


The last example is especially important in current times because it illustrates the way customers perceive some basic guidelines. And it shows us that people will not adhere to the message if they simply don’t trust the messenger. So it is crucial for the customers to trust the companies they buy from. Because people are going to act like the ones who they respect and identify with.

Motive Questioning

And you shouldn’t blame customers for questioning your motives and messaging. They have every right to do so. Sometimes they have been deceived or cheated so they don’t immediately trust all the guidelines and “best practices”.

So what should a company do? Customers look up to regular people, “people like them”. Because our behavior is often times influenced by our peers, so to get the customers to follow the best practices, they need “social proof”.

One example of social proof working as intended is by hotels changing their strategy with guests reusing their towels. This was done as a study of customer behavior.

When visiting a hotel, you can find in your room a card that asks you to reuse the provided towels in order to reduce environmental impact and save water. The hotel then replaced the cards with ones reading that “75% of the guests reuse their towels”, which is utilizing social proof. And the result was that the percentage of guests who reused towels increased by 10%.

It is insights like these that make us question other methods. For example, some software company leaders brought customers to speak at conferences, instead of their own company people. And it yielded results. The customers often don’t want to hear pitches from company leaders, but from their peers telling their experience working with the company.

Some utility companies have started using social proof as well. On the top of their bills, there’s a chart that compares the customer’s energy usage with their neighbors. The utility companies know that those who don’t use a lot of energy will keep using less energy, but some of those who use more energy will decrease their usage because of their peers. They want to be a part of the “normal”.

This is also well known by Delta, the aviation company. In the case of online ticket purchases, Delta indicates the quantity of recent transactions on the screen where the option to add travel insurance is presented. Purchasing insurance is suddenly no longer considered a waste of money but rather a "normal" precaution.

If you have customers complaining about your CRM software, show them that 71% of your clients whose sales are increasing complete a full customer profile in the system, compared to only 24% of other clients, if they aren't using your CRM to its full potential.

It is really difficult to make customers listen to you and change their behavior. The message you’re conveying often gets lost because customers don’t really want to hear what companies have to say, sometimes they just don’t trust them. And they are constantly being shown other messages that are capturing their attention, so it is also difficult for them to follow all of the messages.

So informing customers of what their peers are doing is preferable to telling them what to do. Because your customers are more inclined to follow suit if others who are similar to them do so. It is a proven concept used by many industries and you should do it too.