The interior design client experience is technically the same and predictable. Beyond aesthetics, Interior design has a lot of moving parts, from construction documentation, contract administration, to ordering furniture and logistics are all handled during this time. The design process has the capacity to sift out certain behavior both good and bad.
The view into the interior design client experience shows how we can create a better, gentler experience for everyone. Common human behaviors people can learn from and place the coping tools ahead of the problem.
Design processes are the same and most client behavior can be predicted during the process within a range. Each person will process the experience differently based n the current tools that they have available to them. If a persons’s job is project management, if they are a stay at home mom ridiculed for money spent on themselves. All of this nuanced behavior will show up and act out during the home design process.
The decision making process is a complicated experience that Interior design clients will have to go through over and over during a home design project.
There is going to be discomfort and consequence. The HGTV design experience has taught the greater part of the Interior design process as something exciting and life changing with a touch of drama and humor to fill up one hour TV show slot.
Psychological behaviors that occur:
Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz:
In a world of choices: less is more
When you look at making choices remember this analogy.
Scenario 1: You have 7 healthy puppies to pick from in a litter where all will be going to a good home. You get to pick 1.
Scenario 2: You can easily see every puppy in the world in every circumstance. You hear the story of each homeless pet and every animal is available to you. You can only pick one and many of the rest will never have a loving home or a good life.
Which one would you like to be in? When we look at making selections for a home. An interior designer is going to bring 2-3 vetted options. They will have taken into consideration durability maintenance, size, availability and budget before you even see it. They are superheroes at learning from their last 15 projects and will help to circumvent some of those starter mistakes.
I have heard many times that people need to see everything to know what they want but the reality is. You will flounder in decision paralysis for so long doing that the value of the decision moving forward and progress become the losers in the battle of getting things done.
Satisfaction happens because of context
You might think that satisfaction is a illusive creature that can only be found inside someone on a personal journey. What if I told you, satisfaction is grown in a world that is made for it. if you learn the rules to garner satisfaction then you will know that too much open ended-ness will actually steal all hopes of satisfaction. There is a window that people can feel satisfaction with-in and if you do not know that window to exists then you can’t get no satisfaction.
The power of surprise and delight feeling you found something special, personalized and unique to you will also help drive a satisfying outcome. (This is the whole marketing behind Marshalls and TJ maxX.)
“Cumulative small decisions will cause substantiative distress”- Barry Schwartz even though during the process we deliver lots of little yes’s its easier to cast one large yes for a whole big picture concept than it is to barrage people with an itirative what about this, or this.
It is annoying to be interrogated about lots of small things. (Picture a medical intake form). When you look at how the client will feel during the process they will feel more comfortable being able to buy a total solution or total package over one off things here and there.
The option to not allow returns is scientifically proven to be more comforting and results in less regret.
Consequence < Solution When you can mentally measure what you are spending vs what your solution is buying for you, the satisfaction of the solution feels like a reward.
If we are experiencing a negative emotion concurrently or annoyance due to an issue like (low stock- backorder or out of budget) and those elements are present in an appointment a client will gauge the whole appointment to be to have been a trade off and they may use this as a source for all future dissatisfaction.
Social comparison is a curse. Social comparison is a self inflicted violence used to beat ourselves up and no one wins.
Decisions: the process + Drugs
What does it take to make a decision? The decision process goes through 5 steps;
1. Identify: awareness of the problem
2. Gather: find viable solutions
3. Compare: Discernment phase to find the best one
4. Evaluate: due diligence
5. Choice: action of making the decision and experience the consequence.
consequence pain < choice = dopamine
Like a drug; buying items generates a dopamine hit.
Dopamine is a feel good hormone. Once you are aware of this formula on a deep level. You will understand the client behavior is the same when the loop is left incomplete. An incomplete experience of making a decision leaves a client in a pain point they will want to seek out and complete the loop and gain a dopamine kick from completing the task. If they don’t achieve making a decision and hear the pay bell, they are stuck in the loop and no commitment was made.
Why a client shops you
The decision cycle is very clear. You leave a person comparing and evaluating their options and not hitting the buy button. They will continue to shop. Your client will leave their perfectly curated cart to find other options.
During a client appointment we are closing lots of decision loops. We are going to close so many loops and they should feel like celebrating at the end of their appointment. If the client does not believe their loops are closed they will continue along in the discernment phase. This looks like shopping and changing items until they can complete the task at hand. They will have this huge hit of dopamine and celebrate that the task is done if you do not do it for them.
You need to see the task is done and move on.
If you see some of these items lining up and in your business it might be time to change your processes to complete the purchase before you end your client appointments.
What is the client experience like for the homeowner when they are working with a designer. Let’s step into our clients shoes and have the conversation from their perspective instead of the designers perspective.