We live in a world that is increasing our accessibility at all times and all hours of the day. Want to order a new camera charger at 3:24am? Easy. Forgot to pick up groceries and want them to be waiting on your doorstep next morning? Also easy. Because companies like Amazon Fresh and Drizly are making it easier than ever for customers to have what they want at the snap of their finger, other businesses should take notice: because customers are learning they don’t want to wait, and don’t have to.
Even if you have an online infrastructure built out that enables customers to order in the middle of the night, consider how you are there for them when they have questions or an issue at that same ‘o’dark thirty’ hour. How accessible is your product or company — truly? Research tells us over and over again that one of the main customer service concerns from customers is response times — and research from SuperOffice found that the average response time out of 1,000 companies was 12 hours, 10 minutes. If you, as a consumer, had to wait that long, I’d bet you decided to go with a competitor in the interim. Here are a few ideas on how to make sure your service is working for your customers 24/7.
1. Offer A Service With A 24/7 Assistant
Some services have a 24/7 assistant — a team member on ‘night duty’ or always present on all hours of the day that can assist if the customer needs help. This can range from questions about shipment speeds to more in-depth needs about account or billing info. Or, the assistant functionality can simply mean the customer can help themselves because of the number of resources available on the website.
For example, Constant, a peer-to-peer lending platform where customers can invest, is itself a 24/7 assistant because of the plethora of available tools and educational resources that it offers. “We want to make sure that anyone who is considering or ready to make an investment decision — at all hours of the day — can easily access all relevant information to feel secure in making the decision,” said Zon Chu, CEO of Constant. “Of course, this comes alongside a chat functionality if they run into any issues. For us, it’s about giving our customers everything they need to succeed – it empowers them.”
To see if your website or service could use some more information or resources, ask a few people who have never been on your site to peruse it. Then, ask them to purchase something or order something — whatever your main call to action is for the customers who come on your website. See if they run into issues or have questions that they have to ask you. Always be looking for feedback on how you can make the process as easy and transparent as possible for your customers.
2. Create An App Or Website That Always Has Accessibility
Alongside this, if you offer a digital service, it’s also best to make sure that it’s accessible at all hours of the day. Another app in the financial industry is Ellevest, founded by Sallie Krawcheck. Ellevest is an app that helps women to build investment plans and personalized portfolios based on their goals. Not only can you make investment decisions and purchases at any hour of the day, but Ellevest has a monitoring technology that surveys any atypical buying decisions that happen within the app and confirms it with you separately — enhanced security for your personal information. This helps users feel safer about their purchases and about their account in general, so they’re still in control if anything suspicious starts to happen while they’re sleeping or away from their phone or computer.
With so many AI functionalities and abilities to outsource, there’s no reason why monitoring technology shouldn’t be available like this on your site — even if you aren’t dealing with classified information like bank account numbers and social security. Customers want to feel like they can access what they want to learn about or purchase from, no matter where in the world they are or what time it is, such as with a chat functionality.
Hire VA’s to take over chat duty for certain hours. Saphia Lanier wrote for Invoicely that “there are VA’s from all over the world so there’s always someone who can answer your emails and calls. Or you can simply hire a VA in a different time zone so that they are up while you are asleep.”
Remember that each addition to your company that heightens accessibility also can make it easier to scale. Vanessa Gabriel, CEO of Drop Technologies, shared, “We know many companies that don’t provide easy access to their support team by chat or call and make the customer send emails and not get a reply for days. We made a conscious effort to provide the opposite of that….For everything we build, we have to ask ourselves: are we setting ourselves for success to scale? Can this not only service 100 clients but 1,000 eventually?” Ask yourself the same questions.
3. Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible For ADA Compliance
Finally, remember that accessibility also comes down to ADA compliance – to make sure your website information is readily accessible for all people, including those with physical impairments. Tamar Weinberg, digital marketer, wrote that this boost in accessibility can be done through a number of means: text color (for people who are colorblind), video transcripts for those who have a hard time reading or listening to audio, text-to-speech options, and clear navigation, to name a few.
This isn’t just part of making sure customers always have accessibility – it’s part of the due-diligence of being a good business owner. Accessibility goes beyond being available 24/7.
Make sure that you have every functionality and infrastructure in place to work for all of your customers 24/7. Otherwise, you risk losing them.