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THINK Contributor

Leveraging technology and analytics to reduce waiting

By , September 16, 2016
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This is the fifth blogpost in a nine post series focused on the intersection of customer experience and technology, data and analytics. This post covers the Second R of responsiveness and the importance of reducing waiting.

Someone once said we spend 10% of our lives waiting. We’re certain it’s true because we once read it on the Internet. In all seriousness, waiting is a fact of life. It’s an irritating and annoying fact of being a customer. One of the most impactful ways companies are using technology is to help their customers wait less or, when waiting can’t be avoided, help the time pass more quickly.

Case Study: Applebee’s

Many companies are embracing the self-service trend. Julia Stewart, CEO of Applebee’s, says, “Customers have been telling us for some time—even myself … I don’t like to wait for the check. That was the first sort of pain point we heard of, and we had this unique opportunity with technology to make a real difference.”

Based on a successful pilot, Applebees bought 100,000 tablets for its restaurant tables. The results show 70% of tables using the tablets. Additionally, appetizer orders increased by 20% and dessert orders by 30%. Tables turned quicker and the kids can play games on the tablet while waiting for their food. This is a win-win scenario as customers are leaving faster, more satisfied and with a higher check total, which the restaurant chain profits from.

Looking to recent survey numbers, these results should come as no surprise. “Almost a quarter of all millennials use self-service kiosks to avoid any sort of interaction with cashiers,” according to Retale president Pat Dermody.

Case Study: First Tennessee Bank

Founded in 1864 and headquartered in Memphis, First Tennessee Bank (FTB) is a leading financial services company. Serving more than 460,000 households across the State, the bank offers a range of retail banking services including checking accounts, mortgages and insurance.

To achieve its goal of doubling annual sales of online accounts by 2019, FTB needed to reduce waiting and give customers a smoother journey through the account sign-up process. FTB implemented IBM Digital Analytics to capture, monitor and analyze real-world customer behavior on its website and mobile app, and identify opportunities for improving the user experience. More user-friendly online and mobile journeys drive more customers to complete the account sign-up process. Ongoing monitoring helps to continuously assess and improve the user experience.

Takeaway: The lesson is clear. Any investment that reduces the wait time will equal happier customers who will ultimately spend more and return time and time again. Don’t fall into the trap of the way you’ve always done things. While new technologies can cause growing pains, customers’ expectations are always increasing and you must use every tool in your arsenal to get ahead of the curve. 

Learn more here.

Stan Phelps, is the Founder of PurpleGoldfish.com. He is a TEDx speaker, Forbes contributor and IBM Futurist that focuses on customer experience and employee engagement. Throughout his career Stan held many marketing leadership roles with adidas, International Management Group, PGA of America, and Synergy. He’s the author of five books: Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish, Golden Goldfish, Blue Goldfish, and Purple Goldfish – Service Edition. They all focus on the little ways to drive differentiation, increase loyalty, and promote positive word of mouth. Stan holds a JD/MBA from Villanova University and a Certificate in Achieving Breakthrough Service from Harvard Business School. He lives in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Jennifer two boys Thomas and James, and Glen of Imaal Terrier named MacMurphy.

Evan Carroll is an author, speaker, and experience architect. His career spans roles in user experience, marketing, and product management for leading agencies and technology companies. He’s the author of two technology books and has appeared in major news outlets including The New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Fresh Air, The Atlantic, and Popular Science. Evan has at South by Southwest Interactive, the Library of Congress, the American Bankers Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Marketing Association, among others. Evan holds MS and BS degrees in Information Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

 

Stan & Evan are paid contributors to THINK Marketing. 

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