The internet has introduced insane levels of competition to virtually every industry. And, as one could expect, higher levels of competition mean better service for customers. Ultimately, this widespread competition has conditioned customers to expect convenience. If you can’t provide this, they’ll go elsewhere.
Customers Crave Convenience
How much do you know about millennials? Maybe your children are millennials, or perhaps the kid in the cubicle next to you is one. They get a bad rap a lot of times, but much of the negativity surrounding them is based on misconceptions. They’re different than previous generations, but millennials aren’t all selfish and lazy. However, they do want one thing: convenience.
Millennials love their technology and have been brought up in a world where they have unlimited access to whatever they want. Everything is just a click or a download away. While you may not agree with this mentality, blame the environment – not the individual.
Millennials are not only becoming the majority in the workplace, but they’re also increasing their buying power in the marketplace. Starting this year, millennials are expected to spend more than $200 billion annually. Over their lifetimes, they’ll spend a collective $10 trillion.
So when you hear that millennials love convenience, your ears should perk up. This isn’t something to fight or run from. You need to prioritize convenience or close up shop.
4 Ways to Improve Customer Convenience
As you try to real millennials and win them over, you have to make things as easy on them as possible. Here are some different techniques you may find helpful.
1. Try the 1-2-3 Method
There’s power in the number three. People like to see things grouped in 1-2-3 fashion. The reason for this isn’t exactly clear, but it’s something that the world has accepted as “right” for a number of years.
Whether it’s The Jackson Five singing their hit song ABC (“It’s easy as one, two, three…), Christianity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three-act structure in screenwriting, or sayings like “blood, sweat, and tears,” the number three is pervasive in society.
If you want to make something convenient for your customers, try the 1-2-3 method. With this approach, you help customers understand a process or complete a transaction in just three steps. Here’s an example from The Clunker Junker. As you can see, they simplify the process of having a junk car removed into three parts: (1) accept the offer, (2) schedule the pickup, and (3) get paid.
Could you do something similar? For your business, it might look like turning a five-step checkout process into a three-step process. For another business, it may involve creating an online account in three stages. Whatever the case may be, there’s a chance for you to use the 1-2-3 method and make things easier on customers.
2. Be Reachable Via Multiple Touchpoints
From a customer’s perspective, there’s nothing more frustrating than needing assistance and not being able to get in touch with your business. If a customer has trouble finding contact information or can’t get a hold of you quickly, they’re going to lash out or run away.
Is your business reachable via multiple touchpoints? You may not have the resources to have a 1-800 line or fully staffed call center, but there’s no excuse in 2017 for not having a CRM system, email support, social media support, or even live chat support.
Here’s the key, though. You can’t just offer an additional checkpoint for the heck of it. It’s better to have a limited number of touchpoints that you regularly respond to than to have a bunch of different ones that you never pay attention to.
3. Do Research for the Customer
There’s a massive amount of information online and many customers are fatigued by the idea of doing their own research. The process of searching for information, filtering out the good from the bad, and then cross-referencing different sources is just too much. If you really want to make your brand convenient, you can do this research for them.
This could look like crunching a bunch of numbers and developing a free case study or report that looks at the effectiveness of different products in the industry. Even if these reports don’t always favor your products, at least you’re building trust with customers and positioning your brand as a resource.
Progressive is a perfect example. As you probably know from their extensive marketing campaigns, they let customers compare car insurance rates on their website in just minutes. Sometimes they have the best price, other times they don’t. But customers visit the site because of the convenience and many are more willing to do business with Progressive because of this tool.
4. Eliminate Friction at Checkout
If there’s one thing customers really hate, it’s getting to the point of checking out on an ecommerce site, only to discover that they have to jump through lots of different hoops to complete the transaction. You can make your ecommerce site more convenient by eliminating unnecessary friction at checkout.
The worst mistake you can make is requiring customers to register an account prior to completing a transaction. You can always make this optional at the end of the purchase, but mandatory registration on the front end is a massive conversion killer. If you really want to make a positive impression, one-click checkout is preferred.
Put the Customer’s Needs First
As important as it is to offer customers convenience, it’s equally important that you understand what convenience is not. Convenience doesn’t mean stepping back and automating everything. Millennials still want interaction – they just want seamless interaction.
“Don’t get it twisted- this generation’s affinity for technology is not a rejection of humanity. To the contrary, millennials desire and expect deep connections with others,” says Tamar Frumkin of Salesforce. “They are social, collaborative, value diversity, share experiences and appearances with friends and expect brands to engage with them as peers.”
Now’s the time to start putting the needs of your customers first. They want personable convenience. If you can offer this, they’ll reward you in the form of brand loyalty.
Happy Customers Photo via Shutterstock
The 1-2-3 technique is new for me. I guess there is a psychology to the response of customers to certain processes.