For the most part, people do not like listening to a telemarketer pitch a product to them; not do they like a salesperson following them around in a shopping mall. Generally, it’s not that we aren’t interested in what is being sold (though that might be the case sometimes), it is more likely that we dislike the feeling of being “sold to”. We want to feel like we are the ones making the decision to spend our money, not someone else.
As such, when it comes to buying and item or service, be it large or small, we want to be in control. Therefore, company owners and leaders who rely on consumer sales should be aware that anything you can do to give the customer more control throughout the customer journey, will ultimately benefit the bottom line.
Businesses that are targeting the Millennial market and younger should be especially aware of this need for control, as these markets are the catalyst behind the growth of the self-service economy.
Now more than ever, consumers are heading online to research new products by themselves and making online purchases without ever interacting with a human representative. And when Millennial consumers do engage, whether to update an account profile or get answers about a product, that process generally takes place online as well.
This means that brand engagement is increasingly being driven by the consumer. By offering customers an empowering experience instead of a hindering one, such autonomy can be a very good thing for a company.
Value and convenience are the name of the game in today’s business climate. Consumers, especially the Millennials and Gen Z-ers want less of a hassle when it comes to making a purchase. This makes it difficult for some companies to keep repeat customers around. This does not mean that customer loyalty is dead; it simply means that the customer experience needs to build loyalty around giving the customer more control.
Money is everywhere
Cashless payments are slowly becoming the most prominent form of financial transaction in the world. This is especially so after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It is unlikely that cash will be completely phased out, but the signs of progress are pointing elsewhere. Regardless, giving customers some flexibility over how they pay will likely give them more reason to come back for more. You can give these consumers a greater sense of control by allowing them to choose the payment method most convenient for them.
People skills vs AI
Digital assistants and chatbots are becoming a common sight throughout online retail and websites. Customers are becoming increasingly familiar with this kind of technology. AI and chatbots are also becoming more sophisticated and easier to create by the year. They give customers the power to quickly get the answers they need, putting them in control and making them more independent as consumers. By being able to get answers to their enquiries immediately, customers will have a more-well-informed and thus positive experience.
Options mean freedom
The modern consumer has choices and the resources to identify which brand provides the most value. Brand loyalty may not be dead, but brands that take customers for granted will soon find themselves without any. Businesses need to understand and accept the importance of choice. This means that capitalising on the tendency of consumers to prefer multiple options is of paramount importance. It will also help provide customers with a more personalised experience.