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Customer Experience, Ideas, Leadership

Do your customers a favor and give them back their time

3 minute read | By: Patrick K. Donnelly

If you’re a professional athlete, shaving just a few seconds off your best time can be the difference between winning and losing. The same can be said about saving a customer time along the product experience journey. Brand value is no longer measured exclusively in terms of value for the dollar. Customers now measure value based on service efficiency. Every minute matters in the lives of busy professionals, both inside and outside the enterprise. So when you optimize a product experience in the same way athletes train to perfect their game, you can also bring home the gold.

Time savings equals measurable increases in brand loyalty and translates into profit. It has never been more important to not waste people’s time.

According to Harvard Business Review researchers, “Time Affluence” — the feeling of having enough time — is at a record low in the United States. These researchers go so far as to call it a famine, “a collective cultural failure to effectively manage our most precious resource, time.” If you’re reading this, the quality of the customer experience you provide with your product or service is probably, is at least partly to blame for this downward trend.

Friction = death

In a pre-digital world it could be said that most transactions turned on value. The products and services that provided the most value for the dollar won. But in an overloaded digital world, time is a high-value commodity and customers factor efficiency into the equation when they make purchase decisions, large or small. Time savings is a brand differentiating factor that matters and will increasingly be significant as Generation Z gains greater purchasing power.

Customers want fast, frictionless experiences and that means experiences that are optimized for use. Whether that’s same day delivery with their Amazon Prime membership or frictionless B2B customer experiences, from the buy cycle all the way through to solving day-to-day support problems. Brands that identify customer needs and provide them with quick and easy ways to meet those needs will be rewarded in customer retention and product differentiation in the market.

Here are some ways you can feed your customers precious nuggets of time at every touchpoint:

  • Improve what already works: Some efficiency gains can be achieved by enhancing the quality of experiences that people already have with your product or service and are good enough but could be better. Commit to continual process improvement so that every moment a customer spends with your brand is time well spent.
  • Repair the roadblocks in the customer journey: As with so many other aspects of CX, achieving time savings depends on the mapping and optimizing the customer journey—at each and every touchpoint.

Many of the common failures in customer service and sales funnels originate in one or two specific areas. Identify the origin point for every customer failure and repave the road. Keep doing this until your customers have a smooth stretch of highway on which to experience your brand’s product or service offering with their foot on the gas pedal.

  • Provide an omni-channel customer experience: We’ve discussed the importance of omni-channel customer experience in previous posts, but the quality of a customer experience in a multi-channel world is judged by how well a brand has optimized for continuity. Brands that provide experience continuity as users make their way back and forth across channels will save their users valuable time and build brand loyalty.
  • Focus on the basics: The irony of high-minded, big picture thinking about customer acquisition and retention is that all good customer experience is grounded in the basics. If you fail at the most basic level —use —you will fail all the way up the food chain and your strategy will topple like a line of dominos.

Time savings comes from optimizing user experience and that kind of optimization can only be achieved by exceeding on fundamentals, which include: solid, tested user interface design, customer journey mapping, clearing roadblocks, providing content when it’s needed, and providing an omni-channel experience.

One final thought: Customers will pay more for efficiency. Back to that Harvard study noted earlier, people will pay more to save time. Make efficiency a differentiating factor in your product or service and you can charge accordingly. That’s money in the bank for you and time for your customer.