Customer Loyalty: A Psychological Process

You've just purchased the iPhone 4. Excited about your new toy (more so than you wish to admit) you want to show it off to everyone you know. But it has one major flaw; it struggles to function as a phone, with call stability and signal issues. Yet in describing your phone to friends and family not once do you mention this one detail and instead describe the new ‘Angry Birds’ app you just purchased off the store.

This simultaneous holding of conflicting ideas is an example of cognitive dissonance; rationalising an expensive purchase, sometimes even continuing to passively shop for it without obviously intending to buy. We have all done this post-purchase rationalisation, a psychological desire to stay consistent to that commitment, despite any guilt that we didn’t ‘need’ it or its failure to meet initial expectations.

The Benjamin Franklin Effect is another example of cognitive dissonance. In asking a political opponent to lend him a book, Franklin found he was treated with more respect rather than the rudeness he had previously encountered. Having just done Franklin a favour, the opponent resolved his attitudinal dissonance by softening his opinion of Franklin. Customer loyalty can also be improved through using this Ben Franklin Effect simply by asking for feedback. The nature of giving feedback to a company is in its own way the customer doing the company a favour and in turn the customer is more likely to think favourably of the company in the future.  
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