Using Technology to Offer Superb Customer Convenience
The convenience revolution and the emergence of personable convenience
Though offering exceptional customer convenience is key to business success today, organizations need to understand where it starts and where it ends. Convenience does not always imply all processes should be automated and all humans – replaced by machines. Even though customer exchanges should be seamless, young generations still expect a high amount of personal interaction and that ‘good feeling’ from product or service providers.
Furthermore, these interactions should be authentic and ‘real’ – today’s consumers expect brands to treat them as equals and to engage with them as peers. Spanning generations, the key to building brand loyalty is making people feel special and cared for – it’s not a new concept but it’s one that technology can help businesses master.
Delivering a superb customer experience, offline and online
At the heart of delivering exceptional customer experiences and convenience is, without a doubt, putting customers first – though, this concept is often misunderstood by businesses in their quest to please without gaining a deeper comprehension of customer needs and desires first. Though we associate customer service with web bots, messaging apps, AI, and email today, businesses should not overlook the offline experience and touchpoints – those, too, can be improved with the right tech solutions.
Online, the brand website is on the frontline of interactions with prospects and customers. Thus, revisiting websites and customer-facing apps with a focus on enhanced convenience is a good and relatively easy way to enhance brand loyalty. This process should include revisiting user journeys and UX (user experience) for design flaws and inefficiencies.
Devising the perfect customer interactions
- Offer enhanced convenience at all touchpoints
Whether they prefer to contact your business via phone, email, web chat, social media or messaging apps, you need to be where your customers are. Managing all these channels and providing consistently great service through them all isn’t a trivial task, though, the right technology mix can help facilitate it.
- Do their homework
Even though today’s consumers are generally savvy, they might not be as informed about your products or services as you’d like them to be. It is then up to you to educate and help them with their first purchase. Why is what you offer the best solution for their challenges or goals, aside from bringing you more business? How will it enhance their lives and offer them lasting benefits?
- Make pre- and post-sale consultations, reclamations and returns a piece of cake
Interacting with a brand should be easy and effortless today, thanks to the abundance of channels and apps available to product and service providers. Don’t make customers wait too long, don’t make it too hard for them to exchange or return a product, do offer them concessions when they aren’t happy with their purchases. Even if things go wrong (and they often do, due to no fault of yours), it’s important to address the issues before the negative experience leaves a lasting impression. Loyalty is often contingent on how brands resolve issues and handle less-than-ideal scenarios.
- Eliminate bottlenecks and frustrations
To a customer, there is nothing worse than receiving an order that takes too long to be delivered or an order that contains the wrong product in terms of color, size, or fit. Even though sometimes these challenges are outside of a company’s control, there needs to be a mitigation strategy in place for when things do not go as planned.
In addition to making problem-solving easy and seamless, it’s important to ensure manufacturing, transport, logistics, and warehousing operations all run smoothly and are in sync. This can help minimize issues stemming from delays, inefficiencies, or human error. Using enterprise software apps that are the right fit for your business and having plenty of checks and balances in place can make the difference between choppy and smooth customer service.
Using technology to improve customer convenience
- Speed of service: When prospects first interact with your brand through your website chat window, social media page, contact form or email, speed is a differentiating factor. When someone is considering a purchase, obtaining the information they need in a timely manner can quickly eliminate less responsive competitors who aren’t on top of their customer communications channels. Use the right software solutions to help you manage inquiries and orders.
- Fulfillment quality: Once the initial prospect interaction has taken place, it’s important that the speed and quality of the follow-up interactions are not only adequate but go beyond expectations. Ensuring that customers receive what they have asked for, as quickly and as smoothly as possible, is an important factor in gaining their trust and satisfaction.
- Issue resolution: As much as they would like to, businesses can’t guarantee that all customer interactions, order or service fulfillment will go well. Many issues can be addressed and improved through a careful analysis of processes and better employee training. Still, in some situations there is little to do aside from offering a replacement, a reimbursement, or a reconciliation to the disappointed customer in hopes not to lose them to the competition. Having such a strategy in place can make a huge difference when it comes to customer retention and loyalty in the long run. Losing even a single customer should be perceived as a highly undesirable business outcome that is to be avoided.
- Soft skills: When all else fails, having the emotional intelligence and soft skills to say ‘we’re really sorry, we will do better next time’ to a less-than-impressed prospect or customer can be a game changer. Whether you operate in the B2C or B2B space, in the end, customers are just people. In most cases, they can recognize and appreciate a heartfelt apology. This, in turn, can increase the likelihood of them giving your company another chance. Engaging with people at all stages of their product or service lifecycle can help you build those lasting relationships that are likely to withstand the test of time.
Need advice on the technology you can implement to deliver superb customer convenience? Contact our team for a discussion on how we can help your business achieve this.