Two weeks ago we discussed user experience convenience and why every business should invest time and money into optimizing their customer journey to maximize convenience. An important note to be made in defining UX convenience is the fact that convenience is a parameter that is perceived differently depending on the person and specific timing.
As we delve deeper into how you can achieve convenience in your customer communications as a business, perception must not be forgotten. Most crucial is getting to know your customers. Finding out what their expectations are as well as their individual needs and habits, will get you a long way in tuning your customer experience to achieve maximum convenience.
Once you do this, there are four convenience strategies you must understand or implement1.
Time and effort are what determine actual convenience. As technology provides us with the means to make life easy for ourselves, touchpoints can be a lot shorter. Interactions can happen in the blink of an eye. In customer communications, this is no different. To sign a document you no longer need to download a pdf to print it, sign it, scan it and mail it back. Via our smartphones authorization, it is possible in no time at all.
Let’s say you are going abroad. Your bags are packed and everything is accounted for. After a pleasant flight you hit terra firma, happy to be on holiday. Yet what you’ve forgotten is the fact that your Mastercard isn’t activated in the country you’re visiting. Now, while in the past it could have taken you a long time to get your Mastercard activated, imagine the following scenario. Based on your location you receive a push notification on your smartphone with the unfortunate update, yet instead of leaving it there, you’re immediately asked if you wish to activate your Mastercard there on the spot. Simply by pressing a button. Saving time and effort, this is without a doubt convenient.
A second strategy to follow in creating convenience is flow. When you visit the mall to buy a new pair of shoes, what happens so many times? You go home with new boots, but also two new pairs of trousers, a jacket and a fancy hat you will probably never wear. You also took the time to enjoy a coffee and maybe had some fast food to still your cravings.
As such flow not only creates convenience, it also stimulates cross- and upselling. When you only have so many touchpoints in your customer communications, you can resort to flow to get as much out of every single one of them. If you are a bank and you reach out to your customers to notify them about your new policy, why not take the opportunity to ask about how they evaluate your service? Only to improve it further. The hey here remains to understand the habits of your customers and what drives them1.
As we learned earlier the perception of a service's simplicity varies depending on the individual and the context. As such customers with higher expectations of complexity are more likely to perceive a service as simple or convenient. Without the counterpoint of complexity, we could not recognize simplicity when we see it.
Companies for which waiting periods are inherent to their service, can resort to communication and distraction to maintain a perception of convenience. Commercial breaks that cut through our favorite movies are annoying. That’s a fact. Thinking about waiting alone causes inconvenience. That’s why nowadays a lot of these breaks come with a timer in the corner. Doing so, TV stations can distract the audience at home in the couch of the actual waiting as they count down the seconds before rejoining Harry Potter in Hogwarts or Bruce Willis in Die Hard. The same goes for YouTube commercials that say click to skip in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or the signs in theme parks saying ‘you are X minutes away’.
Although we talked about reducing effort of the part of the customer to increase convenience, in some cases the opposite can be true. By providing customers with the tools to control and more deeply engage in their experience, you may be creating a perception of improved convenience when, in fact, you have decreased actual convenience by increasing the customer’s workload.
Self-service supermarket checkouts remove the human aspect from the service and give customers the perception of having control of the experience, despite the fact that they are being guided through a very specific process flow1.
1Weissman, A. (2012, February 16). Convenience: The seven essentials of a customer-centric business. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://uxmag.com/articles/convenience