Reward Your Customers With A Smiley Face | The Power Of Emoticon Thinking

Marketers get so caught up in the game of what things cost and how hard it is to motivate customers, that they sometimes overlook the simplest and least expensive solutions that exist simply because of human nature. 

Ian Ayres recently wrote in the Freakonomics Blog of an experiment by Sacramento Municipal Utility District that attempted to motivate customers to use less power. Using the incentive power of peer pressure, they compared users energy consumption with 20 of their neighbors.  

The reward – Do better than your neighbors and get a smiley face on the graph.

The punishment – Do worse than your neighbors and get a frowney face on the graph.

Customers who got the personalize report decreased usage 2% more than those who didn’t. More interestingly, folks complained about the frowney faces.  So the study (which met an untimely death due to the complaints) appears to have been verified from both the positive and negative directions.

Is there an approach as simple as an emoticon waiting for you to use in motivating your customers?

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