How Convenience Is Marking a New Wave in the Service Industry
Convenience matters to consumers more than ever. After many months spent primarily at home, consumers have grown used to the convenience of simply ordering what they want and need, and having it delivered to their doorstep. Now that the world seems heading back in the right direction post-pandemic, this element of necessary convenience will only be emboldened.
Think about it: Now that you’ve worked remotely, is it really worth sitting in traffic or walking through cold temperatures for the morning subway rides to get to work? Now that you’ve made a habit out of ordering in on Friday night, is it really worth it to get dressed and go out to a restaurant? While we all miss the novelties of certain experiences, the pandemic has highlighted just what convenience can really mean.
In turn, businesses need to be more convenience-oriented than ever before, responding to their customers’ needs without expecting that their behavior will bounce back to the ways before the pandemic. Of course, aspects such as traveling or dining out will be back to their original momentum in no time, but everything else needs to be simplified. Here are some examples, with considerations on how you should ensure your product offers convenience in our new norm.
Related: The Art Of Convenience In Motion
When hair salons, barbershops, and nail salons shut down, mobile services saw a spike. Now, anyone can order a haircut, blowout, or manicure direct to their home. They can stay in their pajamas, keep their favorite Netflix show on, and sit back and relax for the service. While the experiential aspect of getting out and about for a ‘spa day’ may still lure consumers out of their home, it’s unlikely that the demand for in-home services will dissipate.
This leads to the question: How can you bring your service or product to the consumer where they are most comfortable? Perhaps that means offering a mobile option for whatever type of service you offer.
Consider, for example, in banking. Capital One launched Capital One Cafes a few years ago to blur the lines between ‘banking’ and ‘coffee shops’ for their customers. This was an endeavor made to make banks feel less threatening and more inviting. There’s an element of that in this new wave. While house calls for services like financial advice or social media marketing seems far-fetched, it’s still worth a consideration. How can you make it so that your target client or customer doesn’t have to lift a finger? This eliminates any barriers or resistance to them saying ‘yes’ and handing over their payment information.
Simplified processes for just about everything
Being at home for such long periods of time has also decreased people's attention spans. Whereas those meetings in the boardroom would take an hour and counting, the dreaded Zoom Meeting has emphasized efficiency and time.
Don't forget social media. Scrolling quick-content apps like TikTok or Instagram reels has also pumped up the need for instant gratification. If something seems too hard or arduous a process, a consumer is less likely than ever before to follow through with it (to be clear, though, it was never really on a company’s side to offer any type of murky, long-winded process).
This brings an added emphasis on customer service and simplification. Anthony Marinaccio, an SVP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate, commented that this is exactly why their entire business is rooted around simplifying the process of borrowing a mortgage loan. Typically considered a daunting and ambiguous process, they’ve made sure it’s something scalable by simplifying it on the micro-level for the customer.
“We want everyone who uses our service to then be able to advise a friend, ‘This was so easy,’" said Marinaccio. "There is no UNDERVALUING that which is easy and straightforward nowadays."
So, revisit the ‘instructions’ for your service. Ask someone who has never used your service before to sign up and watch their moves every step of the process. See where they have questions or run into challenges. This can also be applied to sales pages and funnels. If a concept of what you’re selling is murky or how to sign up seems hard to understand, customers are likely to just exit out of the tab and forget about it forever. You have a blind spot to your business, meaning you’ll miss these critical opportunities for growth unless you conduct market research and act as an observer to the consumer on their sales or registration journey.
Apply these three steps to bring more convenience to your business model
To make sure you’re doing the best you can at offering your consumers ease, convenience, and simplicity, conduct these three steps.
1. Use technology. By using tools like Crazy Egg, you can see heat maps of what customers are doing on your site. Over time, you’ll be able to see what copy or processes start to confuse them.
2. Expand your approach to offering your services that put the customer in the drivers’ seat. For example, if you always conduct client strategy calls via Zoom, give them other options. This could include a good old fashioned phone call, meeting at the neighborhood coffee shop, or even sending voice memos back and forth to guide them through their day. Zoom fatigue is real, and customers will appreciate the extra accommodation.
3. Always be asking yourself, “How can this feel easier?” The more you can do FOR your customer in the process, the better. If they’re signing up for your platform, find a way that they can integrate their social media profile, for example, so they don’t have to choose a profile picture or write up a bio.
Over time, it will only be proven just how much convenience matters to consumers. Hop on this new wave now.