The business world has never been kind to those who don’t stay ahead. If you’re not at least keeping pace with advances in technology, you’re getting left behind. The problem is it already takes so much to establish yourself. What we should do is take preparatory steps as early as possible.
If we can’t predict what will matter in the future, we should at least know what to do to stay afloat in the stormy seas of business.
The success of Uber seemed to come from nowhere, yet it speaks to the growth of consumer expectation in the age of the internet.
Uber, a ride-sharing app, connects users who need a taxi service with available drivers. With a tap of a button, users can summon a taxi to a specific location, enter their destination and calculate how much their trip will cost. The app also allows users to locate the taxi. All of this speaks to the new “on-demand” economy. As Forbes notes:
“The on-demand economy is all about ‘now’ and ‘transparency.’ I need my taxi now; I don’t want to pick up the phone to call or raise my hand to flag down a vehicle. Don’t tell me when my cab will arrive; show me on a map how far away it is.”
Naturally, not all services can easily be applied to the Uber model. However, there are properties it embodies which can benefit all modern businesses. Note, as Forbes did, the notion of “now” and “transparency”. By focusing on these two aspects, almost all businesses can benefit.
With the rapid pace of life today, consumers expect services and products immediately. Of course, it might not be realistic given services take time, products must be shipped and so on. However, immediacy can still be a factor in how we handle customers.
As we’ve all become more connected, this has played into shaping what customer-business relationships look like. Customers believe they should and can get something immediately. As Marketing Tech notes: “Living in this culture of immediacy, customers expect more from brands and can very quickly become disgruntled if access to a service becomes unexpectedly delayed.”
To solve this, businesses must learn how to navigate social media spaces, especially in learning how to respond to customer complaints and demands. Immediacy doesn’t have to mean giving customers the product, but giving them your time and attention. This could mean employing someone full time to answer emails and complaints. Customers know they can get an immediate response and, often, that’s all they want.
Ideally, we want customers to reach a point of sale, not frustration.
Feeding into immediacy, customers want to know precisely what’s happening. By having answers, many businesses can usually prevent complaints from going too far. Customers can be persuaded to understand if situations are beyond your control. Often they merely want to know what is happening to their money or project.
Recognise customers prefer information rather than silence. The on-demand economy may have brought that to the front, but it didn’t create this desire out of nothing. It’s always been there. Now it’s time for businesses to respond.