“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
“The future of business lies in experience architecture and you are the architect.” Brian Solis
Today is Cyber Monday, which was created in response to Black Friday when e-commerce became a thing. And can you even believe that was in 2005? Exactly 10 years ago. Ten. Years. Ago! And now look at the world. E-commerce has now become on-demand anything. Think the W Hotel, whatever, whenever. Wow!
As I was scrolling through Instagram last week, I happened upon an ad, yes, an AD, done well, and seemingly timely and relevant to me, good job ad.
This ad was for Zeel, what I will call the Uber of Massages, yes, in home massages on demand. Breakthrough? No. Not now at least, as we are living an on demand life. And e-commerce has become more than just a transaction; it has become a way of life. We are consuming 24/7 via our mobile devices. All day, every day. We are even paying for our beloved Starbucks with our phone, without a wallet. Think about that. No money is exchanging hands. None.
Whether its someone to build my Ikea desk, thank you Task Rabbit, to someone to do my grocery shopping, thank you Instacart, to someone to deliver late night snacks, thank you Eat24, to someone to whisk me around town, thank you Uber, to someone to run an errand while I have the flu, thank you Postmates. On demand everything. And lets not even get started on Amazon’s new Prime same day delivery. Thank you Amazon.
The world has changed. Again. Just when you thought having a website and a presence on Yelp, Instagram and Facebook mattered, that now feels like so 2013.
With 2016 around the corner, it is imperative that we really take a serious look at our client’s digital experience if we want to stay relevant. Period.
This on demand life is creating experiences that are so seamless and awesome, there is almost no question as to why we would not just pick up our “phone” and click “book now”.
Here is a little “on-demand” quiz for your biz…
Can I book from my “phone” easily? And I mean awesomely! No bugs, easy to read, awesome to experience.
Do I have a responsive website (mobile + tablet friendly) that allows for no more than one click to connect with me?
Are all my links on my social profiles relevant? Meaning, why would you have the URL of your Facebook page on your Insta profile? I want a phone number and on online booking link.
Is your payment processing seamless and easy? Email receipts? Online sales?
Is your confirmation process seamless? And I mean without me having to pick up the phone?
Is there a system, which allows me to review your biz, not because you want a 5 star review but because you care enough to hear about my experience? Is it a one-click process?
Is it easy for me to share my experience of your biz with my friends? Like in one click?
Based on your answers, my challenge to you is to audit your entire online and offline experience, and create a plan to crate an experience so awesome, your clients truly enjoy engaging with you and shout it from the rooftops to all that will listen.
If you are thinking, screw that, I like the good old fashion way of doing business; here is what I will say…
This is NOT about changing face-to-face experiences; it is actually about making them better. This is NOT about not picking up the phone, this is actually about engaging on clients terms, not yours.
This is NOT about today; this is about being in business tomorrow. The world has changed, as have the clients seeking salon and wellness services, so my passionate plea to you is to open your mind, and focus on building the new, not fighting or defending the old. My challenge to you is to see the entire client journey from discovery of your business to entering the door of your business. What does that experience look and feel like? It matters.
Adele may try to call 1000 times, but your current and for sure your future clients won’t. #fact
Love + Awesomeness-
PS: All of the above on-demand services I mentioned are all ones I highly recommend. Of course.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon
It never fails, each day I see a post on Facebook or Instagram about a professional being mad at a client for canceling, no-showing, etc. The fact that I just wrote that I am seeing this on a social platform should be enough to get your attention.
My great leader for over 25 years and forever mentor John Paul DeJoria taught me a simple concept. “Praise in public, coach in private.” So I ask, why in the world would we use a public platform to put our clients on blast, or better yet, why would we ever put a client on blast? I mean, they are our clients after all. Now I am not talking about abusive clients, I am speaking about clients in general.
If you find yourself in this cycle of never-ending angst, what it tells me is you simply have not found a system or process that works for you.
Here are some things to consider…
Get A Booking System
Do you have a system that works for the client and yourself? And you see, I put client first. As if it does not work for them, well, then, we have nothing to discuss, as you will have no clients.
A system could be as simple as…
1. Appointment Booking
3. Online Booking
4. A dedicated phone line that has a human on the other end during business hours (which you get to set)
As a client, telling me you have 500 text messages and you are sorry I have not heard back is not the way to build and grow a business. It’s not my problem, it’s yours. So please don’t make it mine. I’m the client. Remember that. If the experience sucks, you’ve lost me. And the experience begins at discovery of your business. Before booking. Think about it.
Appointment Communications + Confirmations
1. Clear, easy to find and understand booking agreement
2. Text and/or email confirmations
Look, its 2015, almost 2016, so if you are not using an email and/or text confirmation and communication platform, it’s time for a wake up call. So lets consider this blog your wake up call. As an owner, its your job to make the clients experience seamless, not the other way around, and I want reminders, and I want communication, but I want it the way I want to consume it, text and/or email.
And as far as policies and agreements go, if I cannot read it, see it, and find it easily, then it’s on you as to why I did not know about it. So web design comes into play here, as does email communication and even good old-fashioned face-to-face verbal communication.
You see, as a business, it’s our responsibility to make the client journey with our business an awesome one. Not one of back and forth texts, ignored texts or emails, setting alarms to call you, or jumping through hoops to get an appointment. Nope, sorry, most will go elsewhere.
In the end, in order to create an awesome experience for our clients, we must focus on their journey. From discovering our biz, to reaching out, to booking, to confirming, to finding it, to parking, to paying, to pre-booking, all of it. So take the time to think about the journey, and do the work to make it awesome, for both you and your current and future clients. Oh, and one last thing, remember that we are on our mobile devices 24/7, so whichever system you choose to create, it must be mobile friendly, or you have lost me, again.
Change the system, change the result.
Love + Awesomeness-
PS: One of my fave go to online booking platforms is Schedulicity as they have everything you need plus the best client care. My awesome haircutter @sugarskulls uses Schedulista, which I love the user experience as a client. And of course, if you are looking for a more intensive software package, there is always Mindbody, Millennium, STX and many more.
“Willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while.” Jack Welch
As I was watching a classic episode of Frasier on Netflix, first aired in 1995-1996, Frasier was in a video store looking for a specific movie. Long story short, just as he was asking if the movie was in stock, a lady grabbed the movie. Yes, there was only 1 copy, of 1 movie, in 1 video store.
It hit me. Wow, how far we have come. Or have we?
Not that long ago, we had one option if we wanted to watch videos. We had to leave our house, and hope that our selection was in stock.
Today, we have unlimited options and get to enjoy our choice on demand. Within seconds, we can watch our favorite movie or TV show on Netflix, or Hulu, or HBO Go. We can tweet, Facebook or Instagram our choice instantly, thus sharing our experience with our community.
So what the heck does this have to do with small business? Well, a lot.
The connected customer, Generation C, as defined by the awesome Brian Solis, craves shared experiences. They demand connection, with both friends and businesses.
Is your business a VHS or a Netflix?
- Can I book my appointment online from the comfort of my own couch at 10PM?
- Can I @ mention you on Instagram to give you a shout out?
- When I share my experience on YELP are you listening?
- Will you notice when I post a shout out to your Facebook biz page wall?
If the answer is no, your business is a VHS. And I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell you what happened to the VHS.
Change happens. It’s your choice whether to embrace it or ignore it. Blockbuster ignored it. The awesome humans at Netflix embraced it. As always, the choice is yours.
Love + Awesomeness-