Before you look away…don’t worry. I’m not doing a yoga class. I’m here to share a quick lesson from the marketing class I teach at the local university. This week the topic was Consumer Behavior, and we discussed all of the social, psychological, and cultural reasons why consumers buy products and services.

But do you know the most common type of consumer behavior?


Is it doing yoga every morning?

Is it cravings for sweets?

Is it bourbon on the weekends?

Is it the feeling we get when we add something to our cart?

Buyers buy habitually for one of 3 reasons. First, they need you; you’re the only choice. Second, they like you. And third, your company has created a “Habit Loop” that keeps customers returning.

What is a Habit Loop?

A Habit Loop is created by a hook, a routine, and a reward. Charles Duhigg created the concept and says in his book that , "each person’s habits are driven by different cravings."  Let's look at some examples.  

Hook Routine Reward
Quick Home Delivery UberEats to My Home Uber Rewards
Half-Price Drinks 5 O'clock Somewhere Fun with Friends
Email about Spain Traveling with My Wife AAdvantage Miles

But all habits aren't bad, especially if you're in marketing and want customers to return. If your company creates a habit loop to keep its customer returning (and they probably do), it is extremely important that reflexive routines match good customer experiences. The driver must be on-time, or the food will be cold. The music and service at the bar should create a welcoming environment. The gate agents, flight attendants, and call center must honor loyalty and be positive even when things go wrong.  Break the circle with a bad experience and the hook becomes less attractive.  

Unfortunately, bad habits from our employees often stand in the way of positive habitual buying. Calibrate among your team to know what great customer experiences look like, communicate why experiences are so important, teach your call center agents about the importance of good customer buying habits, and share why THEY are key to an effective return.

Instead of criminalizing repeat calls, should we reward agents when customers keep calling for the right reasons?

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Matthew Storm

Matthew Storm

Matthew Storm is the VP of Marketing and has been evangelizing and promoting customer experience solutions for over 20 years. Previously he lead marketing programs for contact center technology providers such as Jacada, NICE Systems, OpenText and QPC in the Americas, Europe and Middle East. Before working on the vendor side, Matthew got his start in the contact center industry back in the 1990s while working for Dell Computer and various startups where he implemented solutions for workforce management, recording, analytics, predictive dialers and CRM. Matthew is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has an MBA from St. Edward’s University. He and his wife Karla live in Dallas, Texas and is very proud of his Park Ranger daughter.