How to Make It Easy for Customers to Do Business With You
If you make something easy to do, people are more likely to do it. They’re also more likely to come back to you in the future when they need a similar product or service. Nothing complicated about that, but it’s a point that many brands and service providers miss at a time when technology should be making things more convenient, not the other way around.
In handling the details of a recent move to another state, I’ve experienced both the good and bad of this important, fundamental aspect of customer service.
Providing a Positive Experience for Your Customers Starts with Attention to Detail
Purchasing insurance requires filling out a bunch of forms. Whether you do it online or in person, it takes some effort, even if you’re working with a helpful insurance agent. I’ve done that dance before, so I set out to find an insurance agent who would make the task as stress-free as possible.
The first agent I spoke with probably thought “the user experience” was the name of a band, rather than an important customer service consideration during a major financial transaction.
It started with lots and lots of forms, which could only be filled out manually. I was half expecting the agent’s contact info to be a fax machine number, rather than an email address.
The problem was, I still needed insurance, so I decided to let the process play out a bit more before moving on to my next option. You can probably guess where this is going.
My patience was NOT rewarded. All of those forms, all of that waiting, and I didn’t even receive a follow-up from the insurance agent. Pretty poor experience.
The next agent I spoke to almost instantly made me question why I’d spent any more than the absolute minimum of time with the first agent. This experience was the complete opposite of the first one. It included digital forms, electronic signatures, useful feedback, and an immediate follow-up to make sure that I was happy with the results. In addition to simplifying the shopping process, this agent’s attention to the little details certainly gave me confidence that they’d be able to handle the big details if I ever need to make a claim.
Make It Easy to Do, and They’re More Likely to Do It
The lesson to take from this experience is two-fold. First, no matter your industry, you can differentiate yourself by being reliable, accountable, and punctual. Those traits never go out of style, and they’re especially important when you’re dealing with financial matters. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.
The second lesson is that if you want to win customers – online or elsewhere – you need to make it as easy as possible for those customers to accomplish their goals. If you wall off all of your best content behind extensive sign-up forms, guess what? People are less likely to read your stuff. Force people to register to make a small purchase, and they’ll just go to Amazon instead. Make it difficult to pay through the customer’s most convenient channels, and they might just skip the whole purchase. If you’re not making it easy for people, you most likely won’t even know where they fall off the process.
My insurance experience is a great example, because it was a blend of in-person and online customer service. Moving ties up a ton of mental capital, and I just wanted an agent who would streamline the process, communicate clearly, and take care of the details that I was too busy to handle myself at the time. The first agent I spoke with failed on all counts. The second passed with flying colors, and likely earned a long-term customer as a result.
How can you apply this to your business? Most importantly, don’t blindly accept status quo. Always be looking at every process in your customer’s buying journey with a critical eye. Secondly, stay on top of new technologies that can streamline your processes. Yes, it’s a fast-moving world, but that also makes it more competitive. Be open to adopting new tech that makes it easier on your customers, or watch your competition grab your market share.
Last, but not least, remember to look for opportunities to create positive relationships with your customers—whether it’s on social channels, in chat, on the phone or in person. Educate your customer-facing employees on cultivating a “making it easy” mindset, and canvas your employees for ideas! A boots-on-the-ground perspective is a great way to stay in tune with your customers. Make it easy for them, and you’ll be reaping rewards far beyond the initial transaction.
This first appeared on Ted Rubin
Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI
Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US
It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.
Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.
Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.
From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.
Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.
How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?
One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.
When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.
To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.
The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
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