How does the reciprocity rule work?

Service Business

Rewarding favors is nothing new. If someone has helped us, our natural instinct is to wonder how we can do something for him. How can such repayments be used in the interests of the company? We explain below.

A favor for a favor

The reciprocity rule - one of the techniques of social influence - consists in getting back at someone for something they have done for us or that they have given us. From an early age, we try to repay you - for help in learning, for the possibility of downloading homework or borrowing a volleyball ball. Accepting favors and gifts gives the recipient a sense of obligation. In such a state, we feel obliged to repay the favors or gifts offered as quickly as possible, preferably in an even more significant way from the person offering. Only then can we free ourselves from the obligation hanging over us until the next one appears.

Mutuality every day

The technique of reciprocity, which we have been using since childhood, is present not only in private life. Its advantages were quickly discovered by traders. Not infrequently, when shopping in a hypermarket, a smiling, young girl gives us a small cup with a new type of muesli to try, and our child receives a piece of chocolate from another person with an unprecedented filling. Very nice gestures - you'd think at first. However, we know, taught by the experience gained thanks to many years of shopping, that the same lady will inform us in a moment that a new type of muesli can be purchased today at a promotional price, and by buying a bar of chocolate that our child liked, we will pay half as much for the second one. How does the reciprocity rule work in this case? It is quite likely that, as muesli fans, we will put in our basket a package of the one recommended by the hostess.

How to use the reciprocity rule for the needs of your company?

The technique of social influence discussed in this article can be easily used in the activities of your company. It happens that a lot of clients pass through our office every day. We can give each of them a lanyard or other gadget with the logo of our company. Immediately after the gift, we can ask our guest if he or she would like to recommend us, for example.

It is important that the suggestion of a way to repay him is made immediately after handing him an item. If we ask the same client for a favor the day after the incident, it is quite likely that they will not consent. This can happen because the recipient is no longer influenced by the positive emotions that best stimulate him to act.

While the reciprocity rule may seem manipulative, it will not be perceived in this way if skilfully applied. We will also be able to approach it with a clear conscience, as for a linked transaction - our company will gain, for example, a new recommendation, and the customer will come into possession of an interesting and useful item