Nuts & Bolts: CRM
Many a metaphor is used in conjunction with the hours that dictate our lives, yet one such well-known maxim—“Time is money”— takes on a much less abstract meaning when a dollar value is applied. Specifically, $1.25 a minute. That’s the exact amount J. Walker Smith, CEO of database and segmentation solutions firm Yankelovich, purports your customers’ time is worth. If a marketer doesn’t maximize every second (or cent, as the case may be), “expect them to walk away,” he says.
Here, Smith details three questions a marketer must ask himself to determine just how sensible it is for a prospect to make a time investment in his business:
1) How do I classify each touchpoint?
Points of communication that a prospect has to go through, but might not necessarily want to waste time doing are called “zero-time” activities—e.g., boarding a flight, standing in line. “Those are things companies should try to make as close to zero time as possible,” Smith asserts. On the other hand, “slow-time” interactions are those that customers are willing to commit to. For example, it can be time spent with customer service, browsing a Web site, even assembling a recently bought item.
2) How can zero-time activities be even less complicated?
“How do you take things that you require people to do that they don’t believe are worth their time and make them as speedy as possible?” Smith asks. He offers up the example of grocery store checkout lines. Customers typically just stand unhappily in line, he says. Self-service checkout helps eliminate the negative impression a customer will have of the transaction.
3) What is the benefit of adding value to slow-time interactions?
Nowadays, customers take advantage of the fact that they don’t necessarily have to pay more for high-quality goods. “Value in the marketplace … is being created more with the intangibles than the tangibles,” Smith reports. Increasing the overall experience will make customers want to spend even more time with a brand. Take banks, for example. If the financial sector thought creatively about how to make people want to linger—offering refreshments, perhaps—customers would be more likely to notice financial service options they might be interested in, he adds.