This week we feature an article by Shep Hyken who is a customer service and customer experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker and NYT bestselling author. Shep joins us today to share how if you make life easier for your customers, they will flock to your doors. Don't forget to also check out his latest book The Convenience Revolution at www.BeConvenient.com.
Make Life Easier for Customers, and They Will Flock to Your Doors
Would you believe me if I told you there is a business strategy you could use to disrupt your competition – maybe even your entire industry? It’s true, and it can be summed up in a word – convenience. Going beyond meeting your customers’ needs, and even offering good customer service, it you want to be truly successful, you have to be convenient.
Why is convenience so important? Customers want to do business where and when it is easiest for them. What they don’t want is friction – something that causes conflict or resistance – because in most cases, people’s lives are complicated and stressful enough. Anything that makes life easier for the customer is a winning strategy. And, there are companies that have found ways to disrupt entire industries by creating a more convenient approach.
I’m going to tell you about some of these companies in this article. And what’s more, I’ve written an entire book, The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Sevice Experience That Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty, that will show you how to become more convenient, draw customers away from your competitors, and maybe even alter how business is done in your industry. More about the book later, let’s consider some examples:
- Example 1: Convenience Stores. With “convenience” in their very name, these stores are a classic example of how customers are willing to pay a higher price for products if the shopping experience is easier and more convenient. In the book, I trace the origins of modern-day convenience stores to the Southland Ice Company, a company that sold large blocks of ice (in pre-refrigerator days) for customers to keep their perishable items cold. One day, an employee had the idea to stock products such as bread, milk and eggs alongside its ice blocks for customers to purchase. Customers loved the convenience, and eventually the company transitioned into what we now know as 7-Eleven.
- Example 2: Amazon. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I believe Amazon is the most convenient company in the world. Amazon began as an online bookseller, and thanks to its large selection, low prices and convenient shopping experience, it soon disrupted the entire book industry. Not content to stop there, Amazon expanded and began selling all kinds of products, disrupting the entire retail industry. Its convenient features include two-day delivery, one-click ordering and easy returns, and it continues to innovate with various subscription options, Alexa, its voice-activated virtual assistant, and more.
- Example 3: Uber. Uber came up with a business model that completely turned the taxicab industry upside down. It made nearly every step of the process easier and more convenient for customers. Basically, all customers have to do is open the Uber app and type in a destination. They will be notified how far away the driver is, and the driver will be dispatched to pick them up. Completing the transaction is easier, too. No money changes hands, just get out of the car and Uber charges your credit card. It’s easy and frictionless. It’s like magic. It’s no wonder Uber changed the whole industry.
You may be thinking that disrupting an industry sounds like too much to tackle – but how about disrupting your direct competitors? If you are in business to succeed, that should definitely be one of your goals. The last time I was in the market for a new car, I encountered a business that found a way to use convenience to its advantage (and its competitors’ disadvantage).
I had been going to the same car dealership for almost 24 years. The people there were friendly and the business was close enough to my office that I could walk to work if necessary when I took my car in for service. But, one day I was driving past a competing dealership and I saw a beautiful new car in the showroom. I stopped to look at it, but I did tell the salesperson that I would probably buy from my regular dealership because of its convenient location. I wasn’t expecting what happened next – he upped the convenience game.
He told me that any time my car needed any kind of service he would have a new car delivered to my home for me to drive until my car was ready. He said, “The next time you come back to this dealership won’t be for an oil change. It will be to buy your next car.” Wow. Talk about convenience. And I’ve been a loyal customer ever since.
As you read about these companies, were you wondering how you could come up with a great idea that would create more convenience for your customers? My new book, The Convenience Revolution, can guide you. In it, I detail six specific ways to make doing business with you more convenient, with dozens of real-life examples.
The book officially comes out on October 2, but guess what? You can read it now. Go to www.BeConvenient.com to purchase today, and you will have immediate access to the e-book, free. Then, when the book releases in October, you will be sent the hardback book.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the concept of convenience. It is a true game-changer. It’s another way you and your business can be amazing!
Shep Hyken is a customer serivce/experience expert, an award-winning keynote speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.