The connected consumer is here to stay, and the best companies are the ones who understand these consumers and make efforts to attract and keep their business.
With shifting expectations, evolving technology, and new innovations in the customer-experience model, you need to position your company so it saves time for consumers.
How are expectations shifting?
In the past, customers generally valued their money over their time. They were perfectly happy to spend hours searching for a good deal or doing their own tasks, all to save a few dollars. For example, people would gladly spend a Saturday painting their own homes if it meant not having to pay a professional painter.
Now, however, people are valuing time more than ever. Today’s consumer is time-sensitive and their expectations are shifting. In today’s market, the typical consumer will gladly hire a painter if it means they get to spend a Saturday enjoying a hobby or spending time with family.
Time is becoming the most important commodity to a consumer. While people certainly don’t tolerate a business wasting their money, they get even more upset when a company wastes their time.
The time-sensitive consumer is defining this era of business across many different markets. Consumer voices are amplified by social media, and now even the most clever and intelligent marketing campaigns need to take this trend into account. There has also been an increase in subscription and “freemium” models, which increases the saturation of digital marketing channels. This has all led to increased competition and a significant decrease in customer loyalty. In this era, it’s not the brands that wield the power, it’s the users.
Fortunately, you can make steps to reduce the amount of time a consumer spends doing business with you. You can also create specific products or services that free up a customer’s time, which will inevitably lead to a more loyal and sustained customer base.
To save consumers’ time, it helps to look at the brands and companies that are already succeeding in this area…
Companies thriving by saving customers’ time
The examples of companies who are thriving in a market of time-sensitive consumers is staggering. Some are small startups looking to carve a hold in the market, while others are well-established brands that are known to people all across the country.
Netflix, for example, is one of the originators for serving the time-sensitive customer. Just a decade ago, if you wanted a movie you’d have to get in your car, drive to the rental store, browse through walls of selections, choose a film, check it out, and drive home. Then Netflix stepped in, offering to mail movies of your choice straight to your home. Time saved! Now, for a relatively-small monthly subscription price (which more than pays for itself compared to movie rentals), you can stream a virtually-limitless pool of content, all with a few simple clicks on a controller.
Uber is another example of companies who serve the time-sensitive customer. Instead of hailing a cab, you can simply order an Uber car and it will be ready for you, picking you up at your location and taking you where you need to go. Instead of looking for a cab on the streets, a few clicks in the Uber app and you’re ready to go.
Shyp saves time by eliminating the task of going to the post office. Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) can be used by business owners, accountants, and entrepreneurs to save countless hours in payroll processing.
Take a look at some of these companies and you may find the inspiration needed to save time for your customers.
How can you save a customer’s time?
Find the Logjams in Your Service
Many of the common issues with customer service and sales funnels come from one or two specific areas. Even the most effective processes have points where things begin to slow, but you can improve your overall process by looking for points where a customer experiences the longest wait times or delays. These are the areas where customers are most likely to leave, but they’re also the spots where you can make the most improvements.
Allow for Self-Service
While some might see this as giving more work to the customers, if allowing for self-service saves time, it’s a win for you and the time-sensitive consumer. Many customers like to be self-reliant and don’t want to take the time talking with a customer service rep. Being self-sufficient is often faster and more reliable, and customers can find a better experience in the form of a better CRM system, a user-friendly website, or a self-checkout lane.
Add Helping Content at Every Phase
Depending on your company and how long you have been in business, you may own thousands of pages of helpful content. This content makes you more visible and establishes your company as a market authority, but it can also be helpful for guiding customers. From customer service questions to processes in the sales funnel, adding helpful content at every phase can significantly reduce waiting times. Instead of going through an extended question-and-answer process, give customers the option of clicking to a helpful article that answers their likely question.
Go to the Customer Whenever Possible
One thing you’ll likely notice about successful businesses is they go to the customer, not the other way around. Netflix took the video store to the customer’s mailbox. Uber took the cab driver to their phone. There are subscription programs that bring virtually anything, from the groceries to razors to auto parts, and bring it directly to your door. If you think about your business, you’ll likely identify an area that you can take directly to the customer, saving them time and effort.
There’s no doubt about it, the most successful companies are improving their numbers by attracting time-sensitive consumers. Save your customers a few minutes and you may find success that lasts for years!