Most companies take the customer experience very seriously and look for ways to improve it. But in a recession, improving the customer experience may not be enough. Customer purchase patterns slow down and it is harder for many vendors to remain relevant through an experience only approach.
There are two ways to analyze your business with the intent of improving it and in a recession it is important to examine all possibilities. In addition to customer intimacy strategies, which include customer experience, there is the issue of operational excellence.
Improving operations has been thought of as a back office expertise and often the first things we think of are production, shipping, invoicing and the like. But the advent of on-demand technology has brought operations into the front office as well. Smart companies know that their operations—and how well they meet customer expectations—are vital front office responsibilities now. Operations affect the customer experience, big time.
The great thing about an operational excellence strategy is that it lags behind customer intimacy approaches in the front office. There is a world of opportunity in the front office to apply operational excellence techniques to make your company easier to do business with but modifying operations does not have to mean a big expense. It might sound funny, but when your company is easier to do business with, customers remember and they are more likely to come back. Who wouldn’t want to go back to the place where it’s easy to get things done?
Very few application types can help organizations with both front office interpersonal relations and at the same time help to streamline operations. Appointments scheduling is one of them. When you offer customers the choice of being able to make an appointment rather than taking their chances with walking in, many good things happen. Customers are more relaxed because they know they will not wait in a long line for service. They also know that you are expecting them, thinking about their unique requirements and that your session will be focused on them.
There are benefits for vendors too. Making appointments helps you manage your business so that you will be optimally busy. There will be fewer slack times and fewer times when demand exceeds your capacity to deliver. Appointments scheduling is one of those improvements that any business can implement at a very low cost. It helps manage resources, set and exceed customer expectations and it works for a variety of businesses. Making appointments helps improve your customer experience by optimizing operations—a powerful return on a simple solution.