Commerce

Customer demand for convenience is breaking the barriers between industries

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Innovative technology is redefining what you need to do to appeal to today’s highly demanding consumers – from meeting their ever-higher expectations of convenience to developing deep emotional attachments.

IBM Watson Commerce has developed a thought-provoking POV that outlines the recent, dramatic market changes and how they impact your ability to deliver a fulfilling customer experience. We asked several industry luminaries to offer their insights on the topic as well and will be sharing them in a series of posts.

In this one, Shep Hyken, a renowned customer service and experience expert, shares his observations on changing expectations in customer convenience.

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Customers are smarter than ever before. They know what a good customer experience is. They expect it from the companies they do business with. And here’s the important part: they no longer compare a company to its direct competitor. They compare every experience to the best experience they’ve ever had – from anyone and any company. And many of those companies aren’t just providing a good service experience, they’re also easier to do business with. There’s little or no friction.

It’s expected that whatever you sell, it will do what it’s supposed to do. It’s also expected that your company will provide an acceptable, if not exceptional, level of customer service that makes your customer feel valued and appreciated. But is that enough to separate yourself from your competitors?

There’s a trend that’s taking customer experience to another level: convenience. Today’s customers are demanding convenience, and they’re willing to switch to companies that have less friction and save them time.

Think of companies that are easy to do business with, like Amazon, Uber and others. They disrupt their competition and even entire industries. These rock star customer experience companies are setting the bar higher. A recent Nielsen report1 states, “In today’s hyperconnected world, convenience is the ultimate currency.” Convenience is becoming a leading customer expectation — and giving companies a competitive advantage that often makes price less relevant.

Convenience can be defined using a simple example: you check into a hotel. In your room is a minibar with a refrigerator that has a can of soda that sells for $5.00. Just down the hall is a vending machine that sells the same can of soda for $1.25. It’s less than 50 steps away, yet many hotel guests opt for the convenience of not having to walk down the hall. Every morning hotel employees restock the minibars with cans of soda that cost their guests four times more than the ones just down the hall. Customers want and will pay for convenience.

“Convenience is giving companies a competitive advantage that often makes price less relevant.”

Technology is playing a major role in this dynamic. The power in a customer’s smartphone allows them to order food, buy merchandise, track packages, and book reservations for airplanes, hotels, restaurants, spas, and more. Streamlined processes reduce friction. They save their customers time, and that’s a big part of it. Smart companies are incorporating and creating digital solutions that help customers get what they want in the most efficient and easiest ways possible.

Learn how AI can help you create convenient, fulfilling customer experiences. Read IBM’s inspirational POV, Deliver happiness: Engage, convert and fulfill your way to a differentiated customer experience – again and again.

 

1Nielsen, 2018 The Quest for Convenience, https://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2018-reports/the-quest-for-convenience.pdf

 

Customer Service and Experience Expert, New York Times best-selling author and award-winning keynote speaker

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