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How service providers can better support their customers

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May is mental health awareness month. Observed in the US since 1949 – this month represents an opportunity to fight stigma, provide support, educate ourselves, and advocate for changes that support mental wellness. It can also serve as a reminder that there are people interacting with your service that may be facing a variety of often-hidden challenges. 

While we navigate a global mental health crisis, according to the World Economic Forum, “The debates created by those in the public eye exemplify the complexity of an issue amplified by the “always-on” culture and pervasive technology”. Understanding what your customers are experiencing and how you can support them will help you to demonstrate your leadership and partnership as it relates to their mental wellbeing. 

Impact of digitization on decision-making

Take a step back and consider your day-to-day experience as a consumer and the volume of notifications, emails, and texts that you receive. Customers are constantly bombarded with decisions, action items, and deadlines, leading to exhaustion and decision fatigue. This is compounded by the fact that service providers have more products and features than ever before, leaving customers with more decisions to make and more actions to take. 

Decision fatigue is often a result of feeling overwhelmed because we have too many decisions to make, ultimately impeding our ability to effectively evaluate and make each decision thoughtful and strategic. Instead, the decisions we make, both big and small, slowly deplete our bandwidth throughout the day, leaving us tired, and in some cases, disengaged. 

To combat this, providers need to meet their customers where they are and understand what’s driving their behavior. For example, if you notice that your customers are avoiding a process, perhaps they are experiencing decision fatigue, and you need to simplify steps in the process to reduce the mental load for your customers.  

How to help your customers achieve their goals 

Behavioral science at its’ core examines the biases, motivations, and preferences that influence our decisions. Understanding that different barriers may exist for your customers is an important first step toward supporting their wellbeing and presents a practical application of behavioral science within your engagement strategy. To empower your customers to overcome any fatigue or barriers, consider the following list as a starting point: 

  • Education – Clearly highlighting the most immediate information required to focus energy on a single decision helps combat feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Implementation intentions – Removing unnecessary complexity by breaking down the time required and necessary steps to complete a task or process can help a customer feel more confident in their own ability to complete the task. 
  • Self-agency – Showcasing that your customers have options and control, can help them be open to taking action or asking for help, even in times of stress or resource scarcity.  

Why it matters

Demonstrating a keen understanding of your customers’ experiences as a partner is important to building trust – and trust leads to service loyalty. According to a 2022 survey from PwC, 71% of consumers said they’re unlikely to buy from a company if it lost their trust.  

May is mental-health awareness month, but understanding the challenges your customers may be facing should be an ongoing exercise. Simple changes to your engagement strategies can reduce decision fatigue, facilitate easier decision making and create stronger relationships with your customers.

Download our 2022 consumer report, The Great Shift in Billpayer Behavior, to discover more about what’s driving consumer behaviors. Find out what support service providers can offer customers to overcome the impact of exhaustion and uncertainty, and to engage with them more effectively.