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Crafting the Customer Experience For People Not Like You: How to Delight and Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don't Understand by Kelly McDonald

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SHOW ME ALL OPTIONS—YES, ALL 178 OF THEM, PLEASE

When I am doing a professional speaking engagement on the topic of customer service, one of the jokes I make is that there is a reason men’s clothing comes in only three colors: black, navy, and khaki. The crowd always laughs, because it does seem as if that’s the case. Walk into a men’s clothing store and look at suits; it’s a sea of black, navy, and gray. The reason is that men like to have their choices narrowed for them. They can feel overwhelmed when there are too many options. Three seems to be almost the “magic number” for men: three main colors of clothing. Three main flavors of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.) Three price points when it comes to electronics (good, better, and best). For whatever reason, this formulaic approach seems to work well with men.

Precisely the opposite is true when it comes to women: we like to see all the options available to us. And we don’t care if that’s 3 or 33 or 300. Women want to make an informed choice, and seeing every single possibility allows us to do just that. Furthermore, we don’t easily become overwhelmed by lots of choices. In fact, it almost seems to have the opposite effect on us: we’re able to more easily narrow down or weed out what we don’t want by seeing all options. We like looking at a wide array of clothing options and colors. We love having 20 or more ice cream flavors to choose from. The more choices we have, the better! Extensive choice doesn’t overwhelm ...

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