If there is one customer experience strategy that has stood out during the past two years, it’s convenience. Because of the pandemic, consumers have learned to enjoy more online experiences, delivery and other ways to simplify theirlives.
Convenience was always a sound strategy that helped thwart competition in many ways. Simply put, the company that is easier to do business with wins. Here are some exciting findings from our2022 customer service research:
- 70% of customers would pay more if they knew the experience would be convenient
- 75% would switch companies if they found out a competitor was more convenient to do business with
- 68% say a convenient customer experience alone will make them return to a brand or company
- 80% are likely to recommend a brand or company to friends and family if it provides a convenient customer service experience
Those are some compelling facts. Customers are willing to pay more for convenience. That makes price less relevant. Customers will stay because of convenience (or leave if the experience isn’t convenient). That makes convenience a competitive differentiator.
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6 Convenience Principles
So, how do we become more convenient? Here are six ways to do so. Although some businesses can do so, you don’t necessarily have to be proficient in all six. Some companies only excel in one, yet it helps bullet-proof them from theircompetitors.
Let’s take a look at the Six Convenience Principles:
- No Friction: Friction is the opposite of convenience. Long wait times, filling out duplicate information (paperwork or online forms), navigating difficult websites and more are examples of friction. Find ways toeliminate anything that is cumbersome or wastes the customer’s time.
- Technology: The right technology can reduce friction. Webforms that auto-populate the customer’s information are a simple example of how technology can reduce friction. The restaurant that lets you book reservationsonline versus calling, waiting on hold, etc., is another. The bank that allows you to deposit checks, pay bills and transfer money among different accounts from a mobile device is offering convenient technology that customers want.
- Self-Service: This is about giving control to the customer. Online stores (Amazon is the ultimate online store) are a self-service shopping experience. A company that has a robust knowledge bank of frequently askedquestions or video tutorials is another example of self-service. Self-service checkout at a grocery store is more convenient for customers with just a few items, saving them time by not having to wait in line behind someone with acart full of groceries.
- Subscription: The subscription model can be applied to most businesses today. For the company, it’s an ongoing and predictable revenue stream. For the customer, it means not having to think about buying what theyuse regularly. While newspapers and magazines were always considered subscriptions, today you can subscribe to almost anything. Software has become a subscription model. You can subscribe to razor blades, dog food, toilet paper,toothpaste, etc. If you consume (use) it, there’s a good chance you can subscribe to it.
- Delivery: Take it to the customer versus making the customer come to you. This became increasingly important during the pandemic. People wanted their groceries delivered. Soon, many other types of businesses offereddelivery. Delivery was always an option, but the pandemic accelerated the concept for health reasons. People didn’t want to go out if they didn’t have to. Now that we’re getting back to somewhat normal behaviors, the concept ofdelivery is more about convenience.
- Access: How easy are you to get to? The three main ways to create access are location, hours of operation and ease of communication (connecting with the company when you need support). It could be that your locationis more convenient than the competition. Or maybe you have better hours of operation.
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Delivering on Convenience
As mentioned above, some companies are amazing at delivering on all six of these Convenience Principles. But a company can also be successful by mastering only one. Sit down with your team and brainstorm the following questions:
- What are the companies that we find most convenient?
- Why do we think they are convenient?
- Can we learn from them and adopt their convenience strategies in our business?
- Looking at the Six Convenience Principles, are there any that we can implement?
These questions should get the conversation started. Find ways to be more convenient for your customers. It’s an effort that will make you more competitive in many ways and get your customers to say, “I’ll be back!”