You might not know it, but in 2018, your customers are expecting more from your business. Strangely, they might not realize it either – but due to continuous advances in digital technology, chances are your customers have their standards set higher this year.
The “big two” factors in 2018’s customer experience trends might be less surprising. They’ve been the focus of marketers and analysts for decades, and yet, never seem to occupy a single, defined form.
These are terms that we’re all familiar with, and that seem intuitive enough to business owners. Surely, all it takes is an overwhelming, burning desire to make your services exceedingly and effortlessly available to customers?
And yet, so many businesses fall short of delivering this to their clients. In fact, they might be playing catch-up throughout all of 2018 as they hurriedly patch-up their operations with last year’s innovations.
As a service-based business, your time is invaluable, no doubt. But equally important is the time of your customers, and your success in 2018 largely depends on how well you can demonstrate your respect for their time and patronage.
With so many options to choose from, you can bet prospective customers of any industry will likely choose businesses that offer them straightforward, timely solutions – not overcomplicated and inefficient ones.
Thankfully, scheduling software is an effective way to future-proof your business by offering your customers the utmost in convenience and accessibility.
With innovative features like online booking, improved internet visibility, and automated notifications, your customers will have an unprecedented level of intuitive access to your services. And in 2018, it’s these factors that will largely shape your success in this new year.
Ready to get started? Let’s take a more thorough look!
Cater To Convenience: Improved Online Visibility With Google
If you pull up Google right now on your desktop computer or smartphone, how long does it take to find your business online and create an appointment?
You might not care enough to pull out a stopwatch and time the process – but ease-of-access is a factor most of your customers value highly.
The average web user spends 59 seconds or less on any given webpage, as estimated by the Nielsen Norman Group. That means if they can’t find what they’re looking for within that timeframe, they’ll ditch your site in favour of another.
The same principle of time-efficiency applies to appointment conversions. If it’s too difficult for your clients to find your website and book online, they’ll likely abandon the process and pick it up elsewhere – possibly on a competitor’s site.
This reality makes web visibility and web accessibility crucial – but not every business goes the extra mile towards making themselves digitally available.
After all, not all of us are tech experts – and climbing the page rankings of search engines like Google and Bing can seem like a monumental task to those less well-versed in SEO and website administration.
Thankfully, scheduling software like Yocale makes it easy to improve your online visibility and begin scoring online bookings directly through Google services like Search and Maps.
This works by providing Google with some of your business’s details, including your hours of availability, services offered, and more. Then, once a user searches locally for the type of services you provide, your business will pop up with that information, along with a convenient “book now” button!
With Google Reserve, prospective customers don’t even have to visit your website to book – all the action can take place right within Google.
Now that’s time well-saved!
After-Hours Customer Self Service: A Necessity In 2018
Not only do customers want online representation for their favourite businesses in 2018, but they also expect to be able to interact with these businesses long after they close their doors for the day.
In fact, it’s been estimated that 90% of consumers expect a brand or company to offer what is commonly referred to as “online self-service.”
As Kate Leggett of Forrester.com stated in a blog post, “… phone use for customer service has steadily decreased over the past six years, and we predict it will dip even further as customers increasingly adopt digital channels. Today, customers resolve straightforward customer service interactions via self-service, leaving complex issues … for a phone conversation.”
What does this mean for service-based businesses? Well, if you already allow customers to book or manage their appointments online, you’re good to go. If not, chances are you’re losing out on a sizeable chunk of appointment conversions – yikes!
Either way, scheduling software is the definitive solution for bullet-proofing your online self-service this year.
Not only will your customers be able to book online whenever they’d like, but they’ll also be able to cancel or reschedule their appointments, and even check their payment history for quick reference.
With scheduling software, late-night customer phone calls and last-minute visits are a thing of the past – your business is open digitally around-the-clock, 24/7. This brings an unprecedented amount of convenience to your customers and empowers them to interact with your business on their terms, whenever and wherever they are!
Build Trusted Reviews And Online Representation With Ease
With more and more people discovering local businesses via the internet, it’s essential that your business is represented online in a reputable and dignified manner.
After all, last year 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. With those odds, you can bet that your prospective clients will be perusing user reviews for your business, too!
However, for a variety of reasons, many businesses still have yet to accumulate a sizeable amount of online reviews for their services. This puts them at a severe disadvantage and makes their business appear untrustworthy to some – and entirely skippable for others.
In 2018, it’s time to make the odds work in your favour by showcasing your glowing customer reviews with pride!
Thankfully, scheduling software makes managing your online reputation a breeze – and helps you score new customers in the process.
So how does it work?
Well, scheduling software can send automated review requests directly to your customers soon after their appointments conclude. With their experience still likely fresh in their minds, this timely window provides them an opportune moment to accurately review your services.
From here, you’ll be able to verify each review to ensure credibility, as well as promote your favourites!
Sure, you could remind customers to review your services in-person, but chances are, your offer just won’t stick. Scheduling software provides an accessible and convenient way for customers to leave meaningful feedback without appearing overbearing or domineering.
All it takes is a few clicks on the customer’s end, and they’ll be able to tell the world all about their exceptional experience with you! There are no flimsy feedback cards or unwieldy golf pencils required – it all takes place comfortably via their desktop or mobile device.
Don’t make your prospective clients take your word for it – let your existing clients vouch for your excellence!
2018 is ripe with opportunities for you and your business to succeed. But – as is often said – without a game plan, it’s tough to score.
This year, start off on the right foot and invest in software that helps you bring your A-game to your customers. With features that bring your business online with exceptional convenience and simplicity, 2018 might just be your biggest year yet!
You can find new articles – covering a broad range of online business tips and strategies – right here, five days a week, on the Yocale blog.