Kiss it Better

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Simplicity and convenience are becoming the new black. Traffic considerations mean that we prefer to shop locally, or even better, at the petrol station. (Woolies and Engen! What an inspired combination.) The expensive neighborhood pharmacy is preferable to standing in long queues at the large discount store. We do not switch service providers, even if we are not particularly satisfied, because we dread the red tape.

Our modern world is so technologically advanced with all sorts of labor-saving gadgets, that logically speaking, we should all have too much time on our hands and life should be considerably easier than it was for our grandparents. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Physically we do have an easier life, but our stress levels and the sense of juggling obligations have increased dramatically… just look at the growth in stress medication!

Ask the harassed mom on the school run or the CEO of a large business and the one thing they will have in common is ‘no time’. Feeding into this perception is the complication of everything from buying a phone to going on holiday. We recently chose to cancel a family get-together overseas, because the red tape and ulcers involved in trying to arrange the right papers for my underage niece to travel unaccompanied, simply proved to be too much.

Bureaucrats one, travel agent and family nil.

Small businesses are subject to the same avalanche of compliance and regulation as corporates. It is easy to pass this red tape onto the customer without really thinking about how we can rather reduce the impact. I have recently had to replace my credit and debit cards, both from the same bank. Courier number 1 simply would not accept my certified proof of residence, because “the print was dark”. This is despite the fact that I was standing in the hallway of said address with a valid ID. Speechless, I watched him drive off – with the card.

Courier number 2 arrived half an hour later. He came armed with a digital scanner and two minutes later I had my card. The same bank, two separate courier companies, but a world of difference in how the customer was left feeling. Company Number 2 had realized that banking compliance is non-negotiable but had put a little thought into making the delivery process as painless and as simple as possible.

Adopting the mantra of keeping it stupidly simple (KISS), in all business processes, especially during the sales process, may make everyone’s lives better, especially that of your customers. Uber has done this so well that ‘Uber it’ has become a verb in modern parlance. Their phone app is simple to use, even for the technologically challenged; no cash is involved; it’s quick and no pre-booking is necessary. They have removed the possible barriers to purchase associated with traditional taxis (booking, trying to find one, waiting and handling money) and they have reduced costs to boot. (I don’t wish to get into a debate as to the legal and labor concerns about the Uber model, but rather to highlight how simplification simply makes good business sense.)

Look hard at your business model and your processes. Where and when is what you do company-centric, as opposed to customer-centric? What can you do to make it easy for the customer to do business with you? Online businesses have learned the three click rule: if the customer cannot buy within three clicks then the sale is lost. If there are processes that do not serve the needs of the customer, or worse, irritate the customer, then why continue? If it can be done quicker and easier, ask why not?

Small businesses are well placed to get to know their customers. This knowledge can be leveraged to streamline or adapt to their needs so as to make your product or service the obvious choice.

Keep your business model and processes simple, quick and convenient to help your customer buy.

Author: Janet Askew

 

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14 comments
    Customer centricity in the digital age is fast becoming the holy grail of business big or small. I like this report by Deloitte that cites: Customer expectations and behaviours have changed dramatically over the past decade. Organisations are expected to meet customers’ needs and expectations at every interaction in return for customer loyalty. The ability to deliver this depends on the extent to which ‘customer-centricity’ is embedded within every single person in your business. Source:http://bit.ly/2m4b9Cb
    We live in a fast-paced world and as the article says demands on our time are intense so people are always looking for ways to streamline processes and save time and money. The KISS principle is crucial in this regard and as entrepreneurs we need to be applying it to what we offer our clients as central part of the service. I certainly have made business decisions on what supplier to go with based on the ease of doing business with them. Cumbersome processes and complicated systems are a real turn-off and convenience is key.
    I absolutely agreeMarangand perhaps Cape Town's techies have managed to brain wash me but I am such a believer in tech solutions that make every part of your day-to-day and supply chain kissable.
    The concept of KISS is age old and has stuck around for so long for one reason - it works! It is a basic priciple that isn't industry specific but speaks to every business at every level. Look at food (because I relate everything to food) the most successful dishes you make the ones that people enjoy the most all have one thing in common... the very best produce cooked respectfully and not overcomplicated. The minute you add too many secondry ingredients you start to cover the tastes of the stars of the dish it becomes confused and wontwork together nearly as well as if you had kept it simple. Stick to the core ingredients treat the respecfully show some restraint and it will be a success.
    Oooooooh now I'm hungary :-)
    Tech solutions are definitely making business quicker are there any specific apps/tech solutions you have found to be crucial in your businesses? It's so hard to tell what will work for you and what is just fluff - there is so much out there!
    Hahaha Sorry Antoprophy!
    So true - client's expectations of their suppliers are to be an all-round solution seamless in delivery and convenient to a fault. With the high levels of competition clientscan afford to move on with the quickness if they feel like they're not being taken seriously.
    In terms of tech Customer Relations Management online tools have been a great way for us to streamline our processes where client engagement is concerned. It's helped us to work more efficiently track our activity manage our time smartly and deploy resources a whole lot less wastefully.
    TheTastyChef I loveTrello and Slack to keep track of my day-to-day activites especially for intricate client projects. Hootsuite is fab in taking the headche out ofmanaging social media campaigns easily and effortlessly. Xero recently launched in Cape Town from the UK and their accounting software and ecosystem is fantastic. Also I only recently discivered that Google is more than just Gmail and searching their ever evolving product suite also makes so much easier especially if you secure your domain through them.
    Ooh Thanks! I have just started using hootsuite trying to figure it all out. Willlook into the others you mentioned too. The only one I can add to this which has been alifesaver for me inbig cities and unknown destinations is Waze (not business related as such)but gets you to meetings on time with real time traffic etc.and alternate routes to get you there.
    I like so definitely checking it out thanks for sharing.
    Thanks! will definitely check those out!
    @Marang I am busy looking into CRM tools but don't know which way to turn once again the market if flooded with them. Do you have one that you have found to really work? Would save me a lot of sifting through a million sites.