A lot of frustration that customers experience through the transaction process can be easily and inexpensively fixed with technology. Take the airline industry, for example – the average departure delay from the Chicago O’Hare airport has been calculated to be 37 minutes. While delays can be a frustrating experience, airlines that send advance notifications about potential delays to travelers through SMS could dramatically ease a lot of this exasperation. This is because it allows customers to redraw their traveling plans and the delay becomes less of a hindrance.
Similar inexpensive technology tools can be deployed at every stage of the customer journey to make their experience smoother and better. Here are a few ideas.
Helping With Decision Making
A customer has a lot of decisions to make during the buying process. This includes comparing the features of various alternatives, checking their price, understanding the tech support available to them, and learning about potential downsides to the product. A simple app like the one from Amazon that lays down the options to the customer, along with details about the features offered, the price and reviews from past buyers goes a long way in easing the decision making process.
Reducing Idle Time Offline
Idle time during the buying process is a great source of frustration for the customer. This is especially true towards the end of the buying cycle (like waiting time in the queue or getting a bill at a restaurant). One way to use technology to ease this process is to automate the checkout process. Retail stores have already started investing in futuristic check out processes that does not require customers to stand in queue to complete the transaction. According to Michael Chui, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute, the checkout process in the near future will be so seamless that it could “feel like stealing” – customers simply grab a pair of shoes and walk out. Amazon too is learned to be working on launching offline stores that would require no checkout. While such technologies are not exactly inexpensive, they solve a huge pain point to both customers and retailers alike and is expected to improve customer experience dramatically.
Fixing Customer Frustrations Online
A study of customer engagement among mobile users found that every 500 ms delay in connection speed contributed to a 26% increase in peak frustration and also a 8% drop in engagement. Optimizing your website to handle peak server requests is extremely important to ensuring top customer experience. For small business users, it is recommended to invest in solutions like CDN and caching that also safeguard your site. Such services tend to create a copy of static websites available for quick retrieval. This facilitates quick access to websites and also reduces the strain on the servers that contribute to long website loading times
More Human Touch-points
Unlike popular perception, great customer service does not come from increased automation, but instead from making more human touch-points available to the customer. When a customer has an issue with the product or needs more information, they seek a human interface to engage with. The absence of sufficient touch-points leads to frustration and is a major cause for customer dissatisfaction. While offering a one-to-one human touch-point may be expensive, businesses must invest in one-to-many interfaces that can help businesses optimize cost while providing customers with human engagement at the same time. For instance, your business could replace call centers with web-chat interfaces – this reduces delay time while at the same time letting a support rep to engage with multiple customers at the same time.