I have written frequently about the importance of knowing your competitors (competitive intelligence) and I also love Nir Eyal’s Hooked model to build products that retain; I just came across a slideshow by Nir that brings both of these concepts together. Nir’s presentation, “4 Ways to Win Your Competitor’s Customer Habits” (presentation below), shows the four ways companies build better hooks than their competitors.
As a quick recap, the Hook Model describes an experience designed to connect the user’s problem to a solution frequently enough to form a habit. Eyal defines habits as behaviors done with little or no conscious thought. The convergence of access, data, and speed is making the world a more habit-forming place.Businesses that create customer habits gain a significant competitive advantage. It has four phases: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.
Eyal identified four ways to win customer habits. If your product becomes the one the customer is hooked on, then you will enjoy their continued business.
The first technique is faster hooks. The faster the user passes through the model, the greater the product’s or game’s habit forming potential. Nir Eyal uses the example of Netflix, which won over people’s viewing habits from Blockbuster by delivering movies what were waiting for users rather than forcing them to get in a car, pick the movie, pay and drive home.
To achieve faster HOOKS, first understand the must-have reason people are using your product or game. Next, lay out the steps the customer must take to get the job done. Finally, once the series of tasks from intention to outcome is understood, simply start removing steps until you reach the simplest possible process.
More frequent HOOKS
The second way to move your competitor’s users to you is more frequent hooks, getting users to perform the behavior more times. When it comes to pulling users away from their existing habits, products that can engage users more frequently than their competitors, have a better shot at bringing users back. He compares Amazon’s web product to its mobile product, users can use the latter anywhere so whenever they need something they just pull out there phone. Thus, they end up using it much more frequently.
More rewarding HOOKS
Nir points out that products can change habits when using them feels better, thus the user is getting a larger reward. In a game, this can be bigger payouts or simply bigger celebration of wins. Whenever an experience is more satisfying, more interesting, or more rewarding, people want more of it. Sometimes products establish new habits because using them feels better.
The fourth technique to become part of the habit of competitor’s users is remove barriers to entry to get your customers hooked. A characteristic of many habit-forming products is that they are easy to start and hard to stop. By breaking down some barrier to begin using the product, companies have found success wooing users away from competitors.
This can be something as simple as the registration process or eliminating upfront costs. Nir uses the example of Microsoft Office versus Google Docs, with the former requiring a lot of training time and a high up front payment.
The beauty of hooking your competitor’s customers
These four techniques provide a way to win over customers currently with a competitor. In essence, though, they are also helping you create a better product because you are giving these users reason to move to your product. By following these four steps, you can increase your user base and build long-term revenue.
- Habits are very strong drivers of behavior, so if you can replace using a competitor’s product with using your product with a customer, it has tremendous value to your business.
- One of the strongest techniques is creating faster HOOKS, eliminating as much complexity and steps as possible to using your product.
- Other effective ways to get your competitor’s customers are more frequent HOOKS, more rewarding HOOKS and easier to enter HOOKS.