It is undeniable that entrepreneurs need a solid business plan. It provides clarity about the business idea that the organization is devoted to; it describes the vision and purpose of the business in a unified language. It describes the values and how that is echoed in all of their decision making. The plan also helps articulate these goals to external support systems, such as investors, banks and even potential employees while recruiting.
As the 21st century progresses, the traditional steps in business planning must evolve as well. Over the past decade or so, the phrase “customer experience” has been a particularly popular subject. It’s the idea that the organization can consciously and deliberately create a rich experience.
Creating A Positive Customer Experience
It is this experience that is ultimately what is sold. In my experience, when rating customer experience with a company, there are usually three things that top the list: speed, ease of the process and convenience.
A recent report by Merkle titled “The Experience Impact” polled 500 U.S. residents in March 2019. Participants rated well-known entities on customer performance. Amazon, Apple and Nike were the top three, with Amazon holding the top spot. The three top reasons that were cited for the choice were: Fast, easy and good customer service.
This is no happy accident. The entire experience is meticulously planned, crafted and executed. This might not be apparent at first glance. It is necessary to shed a consumer lens and think from a business perspective. In order to provide a consistent and reliable experience to customers, every detail has been evaluated and executed so that the experience guest behavior are predictable.
The High Value Of Convenience
So, what can your business learn from Amazon? The experience the customer has with your organization is critical. You cannot succeed without carefully designing this experience. Once it has been fully articulated, the additional layer of putting standards into practice is the next step.
In saturated markets, convenience and fast fulfillment become critical factors. This is clearly demonstrated with the popularity of Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery. During the holidays especially, it became common to compare the number of Amazon deliveries one received during the week.
The fact that we now take “convenience stores” for granted supports this even further. Think of the last time you bought something at a small convenience shop. Why did you choose to buy milk, bread or snacks at a higher price than could be found in a grocery store? Convenience. It is quicker to checkout at the neighborhood convenience store than any grocery outlet.
What Constitutes Convenience?
The perception of convenience is considered more important to the consumer than the actual amount of time and effort saved. This is, after all, where convenience stores got their name. Appreciation of fast and easy service is a universal part of human nature. Why not leverage that?
In crafting your customer experience, you will want to instill feelings of convenience and confidence. This includes knowing where convenience matters most and where the business can “cut back” a bit to save costs. Consider the different aspects of convenience you can incorporate into your business plan, such as:
• Literal Convenience: Remove the physical and cognitive barriers that make buying a product or service difficult. Offer a richer experience than anyone else. Make it seem effortless in comparison to the buying experience with a competitor.
• Convenience Through Adjacency: Offer related products and services in the context of purchasing your main product or service. This will make customers’ experiences seem more fulfilling. It also gives you credibility; customers see you understand their needs and can be relied upon to provide everything they need, not just what they asked for.
• Perception Of Convenience: Creative use of marketing language can enhance how customers perceive a product or service. Using words like “speedy,” “easy,” “simple,” “quick,” “fast,” “and,” “of course” or “convenient” put the expectation in a consumer’s mind before they even make a purchase. Fulfill the promise, and you will create loyalty in your customers.
Where can you add convenience into your business plan — in making choices, in fulfillment, in finding information, in your returns or refunds? Convenience easily translates into sales and return customers in any industry.