Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Take It As a Free Gift From Us

The following conversation is one I had a few weeks ago when I was on the market to buy a new cellphone. I visited a Vodaphone store because I knew I was interested in that carrier but I wasn't sure what plan I wanted or what features I would need. I walked into the phone store and was immediately greeted by someone. I was asked if I had needed help or assistance today. I let the man know I would approach him if I had any questions. I spent a few minutes looking a the phones in my price range then let a customer service representative know that I was interested in purchasing a phone but I knew not too much about the phone plans in the UK. This is the closest estimate I can get to our conversation;

Customer Service: How can I help you today?
Me: I’m interested in opening a new account. I know I can't get a monthly plan since I’m only here for 6 months, but I’d like a pay as you go plan.
Customer Service: Okay, we have these phones available for our pay as you go plans. You just pick a phone, I’ll help you choose a plan, and you can activate it today. And here at Vodaphone, we offer a free SIM card when you buy a phone with us.
Me: Uumm okay. Does it matter which phone I get for the free SIM?
Customer Service: No, any phone you buy today will get you a free SIM. Let me tell you about our pay as you go plans. We have plans that focus on the amount of minutes you have, text messages or data. You can also get a combination plan, that gives you a little bit of each. What are you most concerned with having in your plan?
Me: Well I mostly text and I can't imagine making too many calls...
Customer Service: Okay, I recommend for you this plan that gives you 300 texts per top up. Also when you top up for your texting plan, Vodaphone will give you 100 free minutes to use in the UK. And if you top up 10 pounds you will get 50 MB of data to use.  
Me: Oh, okay. Well I don’t really need the data or minutes actually.
Customer Service: That’s fine, it’ a free gift from us. Also today, if you buy this phone, you can get a free 30 pound top up.
Me: Well, I don't think I need a phone that nice.
Customer Service: Yes, but with this phone you can browse the internet, have access to all the apps in Google play, and Vodaphone is known for free Top Ups that offer extra data, minutes and texts.
Me: Well, I think I just want a simple phone, I don’t really use it that often. I’ll just take this one, and top up 10 pounds to start.
Customer Service: Okay, would you like me to set this up for you now for free?
Me: Sure, thank you.
Customer Service: Okay, let me just get this all ready for you to use.
Customer Service: Okay, it’s all set up. With your 10 pound top up today, you will receive a text with a free offer for two days of unlimited data. Also, next time you top up 15 pounds, you will get a free top up offer via text message.

This salesmen used the that’s not all technique when offering me a cell phone plans. While the offers I realized later were available to me the entire time, he took advantage of the fact that I did not know about them to make them sound like they were somehow free special extras. Even though I showed interest in buying a phone that day, he made sure keep me interested by slowly revealing all the free extras.

An experiment done by Burger incorporated the that’s not all technique. The study used 426 participants that ranged from teens, undergraduates, and adults. A total of 7 experiments were run, where a product was offered for a high price, the salesman did not allow the participant to speak for a few seconds after the offer, then the salesman offers a better deal by doing one of two things; adding an extra product or lowering the price.

Experiment 1 and 2 found that offering an extra product or lowering the price was effective in having participants agree to the offer rather than giving the better deal initially. Experiment 3 and 4 showed that the results from experiment 1 and 2 may have happened because of the norm of reciprocity. Subjects felt as if they needed to respond positively to the deal that was being presented to them from someone who owed them nothing. Experiment 5 resulted in the researchers discovering that subjects may show more compliance because of the comparison they are making in their mind between the former price and the new better offer. Experiment 6 illustrated that the deal being effective cannot be fully credited to the the subjects receiving a lower price. This could be true because we as a society know that products prices are marked up high amounts to make a profit. Experiment 7 look at the differences of the effectiveness of the that’s not all technique and door in the face technique. What the researchers found was that the that’s not all technique is overall more effective.

BURGER, J.M., 1986. Increasing compliance by improving the deal: The that's-not-all technique. Journal of personality and social psychology, 51(2), pp. 277-283.

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