Change can be a scary thing. We know. But it’s also exciting, not to mention necessary – especially for businesses. The world is changing, technology is changing, the ways people use products and services are changing, and in order to keep up businesses must change as well.
The truth is that compared to the way manufacturers are creating smart products and the way retailers are distributing and delivering them, customer service departments have been lacking for a long time in adaptability, speed, and convenience. Why should it be that everything from purchasing a product to receiving it is quick and seamless, but when it comes to installing, connecting, fixing, or asking questions the customer feels stranded and frustrated? This gap is closing quicker every day as more and more retailers offer on-demand service from the crowd.
Crowd service is the next revolution in customer service and it will help your businesses not only keep up with, but exceed customer expectations. We’re here to help and we have some advice to make your crowd service the best it can be for you, your techies and your customers. Below are five tips that retailers need to consider when offering on-demand service from the crowd.
1. Consider Your Products
Marketing your new crowd service widely, frequently, and intelligently is key to making this a successful and sustainable part of your business. To do this, you first need to consider your products because your products are where you’ll find opportunity for mass marketing.
First, find out the following: Which products do you sell the most of? Which products do you receive the highest number of service requests about? Which products take longer to install than others? Which products might your customers find difficult to install even if they’re advertised as “do-it-yourself”?
For example, the smart lock is…well, smart. It can be self sufficient and controlled from a distance. And it’s even considered a “do-it-yourself” product. But installation requires knowing how to connect to other smart products or smart hubs in the customer’s home. Some customers might be more knowledgeable or interested in technology and instillation than others. Or maybe some have more time on their hands than others. By being conscious of these things and taking advantage of their realities, you can market to your customers varying needs, personalities, and homes.
2. Find the right people
Your crowd service freelancers should be local techies who enjoy playing around with new technology, have an interest in how things work, are knowledgeable about products and their usage, and want to share this excitement and knowledge with others – all while being paid for it!
The services your crowd offers are not for professional technicians, nor would professionals find the work very lucrative. Crowd service is meant to be quick, affordable, convenient, on-demand service provided by “next-door” techies, who are like a reliable and friendly neighbor to your customer.
3. Start with a pilot phase
Like we said, change can be scary. So take it slow, at least at first. Before jumping in nationally, or globally, try your crowd service out in one city first.
In your selected city, target your special customers using these tips. Make sure all of your employees are aware of and knowledgeable about your crowd service launch. Having everyone on the same page is essential to making sure new endeavors run smoothly. See what works and what doesn’t work. Ask customers and techies for feedback on how you might better your crowd, your marketing and your overall functionality.
After taking all of this into consideration and making all necessary adjustment, you can prepare for your next big launch.
4. Expand & Integrate
Once the pilot has proven successful you can begin to expand your crowd service to other cities, states, and countries. However, it’s not enough to merely create a flyer and stick it in a product’s box. Yes, you should market within your physical stores – on receipts, with flyers and banners, through employees, etc – but you should also be prepared to integrate the crowd into your online shops. Amazon is a great example. They often market personalized and new products and services to customers during checkout. They also offer a variety of shipping services. Consider offering your crowd service during checkout. Allow customers the options to order it alongside their product, to read more about the service, or to sign up for crowd service updates. Eye-catching sidebar advertisements work as well. Mila, for example, has integrated with two Switzerland-based online shops, BRACK and Interdiscount, to offer their service. This benefits both Mila as a crowdsourcing company, and the online shops by offering seamless customer service right at check-out. That way, customers are very clear on how to get help if they need it, rather than going through the antiquated steps of finding a customer service contact number, calling, being put on hold, and waiting days for a technician.
5. Be bold & be excited
You have done something innovative! Now talk about it! Be bold in your marketing. Get customers as excited as your are about your new on-demand service. Customer service is affordable, convenient, and friendly like never before – and YOU were the ones to embrace and offer it. Market the service in all of your channels and take chances. After all, you can only learn what works if you try.