Customers don’t want to wait. Specifically, they don’t want you wasting their time. If you make them wait, you risk losing them. Keeping your customers waiting sends the message that you don’t respect them or their time.
Customer experience and marketing expert Jay Baer proves this in his latest study, time to winwhich measures the impact of speed and responsiveness on customer experience and loyalty.
How important is speed? Consider these findings from Baer’s report:
· Two-thirds of customers say speed is as important as price.
· More than half of customers surveyed hired the first company to meet their demands, even though it cost more.
· Half of customers will not wait more than three minutes in a store.
I had the chance to interview Baer on Amazing business radio, where he shared some important ideas that should be considered. Here are six of my favorites, followed by my comment:
· Speed is the most important element of customer experience and the only one that never stops or goes backwards – Calling it the most important element of customer experience is bold, but consider a key finding from the report: 50% of customers are less likely to spend money with a company that takes longer to answer than they think. Baer says, “Customer expectations for speed and responsiveness increase every year without fail.
· Everyone has the same amount of time, 1,440 minutes a day, and there’s nothing we can do to get more – The weather is the same for everyone. No one gets more than anyone else. It has nothing to do with being rich, poor, young or old. And once it’s gone, it’s impossible to get it back. Based on this principle, business leaders should ask themselves, “What can we do to ensure that we are not responsible for our customers’ wasted time?”
· Age makes a difference – In our interview, I was surprised when Baer shared the most and least patient generations. I would have thought baby boomers (the older generation) would have been more patient, but I was wrong. Generation Z is the most patient generation. Baby boomers are the least patient. The goal is to know your customers. Who are you talking to? Understand demographics and improve your response time accordingly.
· The first company that responds to a customer has an incredible advantage – If your company is the first to respond, you could win the client’s business, whatever the cost. Specifically, 53% of consumers hired the first company that responded to them. Customers want to make decisions and move on. If you give them what they want, they can save the hassle and time of comparing all the competition.
· A quick response impacts your bottom line – Just as customer service and convenience make price less relevant, so does quick response or prompt service. The study found that customers would pay an average of 19% more for “always immediate service”, meaning no waiting in line, no waiting, etc. In other words, customers value speed. It’s a matter of convenience. Additionally, 27% of customers are more likely to spend money when the brand responds faster than expected.
· Right now isn’t really right now – As customer expectations and their need for speed increase, the concept of “now” can seem daunting. According to Baer, the concept of “now” is the optimal amount of time elapsed in every customer interaction throughout the customer journey. If that sounds technical, here’s an easier way to say it: “Right now” is just slightly faster than the client expected.
With only 1,440 minutes available each day, customers want to spend as few minutes as possible on hold, as evidenced by Baer’s research. It’s so important that people will pay more. Security lines at airports are prime examples. If you’ve flown into a major US airport, you’ll notice three lines to go through security. The TSA security line is for most passengers. It’s free. Then there is TSA PreCheck. For a small investment of $78 (which covers you for five years), you can be pre-qualified to use a shorter line where you don’t have to take your computer out of your bag, take off your shoes and more. And for a little more money, you can sign up for CLEAR, which allows you to skip the TSA lines.
Baer’s research brings out an important point. If you want a competitive advantage in business, respect your client’s time. Don’t make them wait. Respond quickly to their questions, requests, and issues. Find ways to build speed into your customer experience and you’ll reap the benefits of loyal customers who spend more and say, “I’ll be back!”