Will your customers spend more money if it saves them time?
With all of us feeling more pressed for time these days, it is likely that your customers are making decisions about where they spend their money based on convenience. Yes, price and quality are important, but time has become an important part of our buying decisions. Customers are more willing to do business with companies that save them time, even if it costs them more money.
When I had more time than money, I was willing to spend time to save money. These days I find myself less and less willing to do so. I will pay more if it saves me time–and aggravation.
How does this affect your business? To get and keep customers make it easy for them to do business with you. And don’t be afraid to charge premium prices if you deliver convenience.
Keep it simple. Have a standard package of products and services so customers don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out what they need and what they should buy.
Don’t make them spend a lot of time on the phone. When customers call, get them to the information they want or the person who can help them immediately. If they have to press “1″ for this and “4″ for that, many of them will hang up. If they are put on hold, let them know how long it will take to get to their call, or give them the option to leave a message.
Keep standing in line to a minimum. Although lines may be a unavoidable occurrence, make them as painless as possible. Have plenty of stations available, and make it clear where customers should go to buy, get information, make a return, etc.
Honor appointment times. When customers come to you, keep your appointment time. I have dropped doctors because they made me wait for ridiculous amounts of time. Don’t make customers wait all day for a delivery or service call. Give a shorter window (e.g., between 9 and 11 a.m.) or offer to call them at work or on their cell phone 30 minutes before arrival. Do not overbook so that you are always running late.
Avoid errors that cause them to spend time returning merchandise or dealing with service issues. Check orders before they ship. Test packaging to make sure products will not be damaged in transit. Verify that installers know how to deal with all of the situations they may face.
Have business hours that conform to their schedules. Be available on weekends, or at least one evening a week, even if only by appointment.
Go to them instead of making them come to you. Meet with clients in their homes or offices. Deliver products to them.
Make it easy for them to find what they need on your web site and in your physical location. Your site should have easy to understand navigation so they can find what they are looking for. Have a search function so visitors can find exactly what they need without going through multiple pages of the navigation. In your store, organize so that related items are together. Do you sell products that need batteries or other consumables? Put supplies and accessories right next to the products so that everything is in one place.
The less time customers have to spend dealing with you, the more time they have to do the things they want or need to do. And the less time they have to spend with you, the more money they may be willing to spend.