Increasing Consumer Impatience: Why Businesses Need to Take Notice of Real-Time Updates
The Internet is now faster than ever. With the explosion of social media, and search engine leader Google rolling out its new interface, incorporating real-time updates, people now expect everything in an instant. This sudden shift towards immediate gratification is also likely to have ramifications for business operations and their product transactions.
The acceptable periods for digital downloads, customer service responses and even physical deliveries are rapidly diminishing. That old 7-10 business day time-frame is starting to seem like forever and is becoming unacceptable to many.
The promise of an email reply within 48 hours will just not cut it anymore. People are becoming increasingly impatient and have gotten used to the new real-time updates – where they receive everything in an instant – and they are transferring these expectations to the business world.
If a business wants to maintain customer satisfaction, it will need to prepare for this new fast-turnaround revolution. Failure to keep up could result in lost business, canceled orders and a drop in repeat sales. So what needs to be done to comply with the real-time crowd?
For businesses promoting and delivering digital products, the transformation is a relatively simple process. Most digital product dealers may already operate in real-time. Orders are made, processed and sent out within minutes – if the whole process is adequately automated. If a digital retailer is not automating the whole system, they need to upgrade and do so now. Sitting on a digital order and delivering the product 2 days later is not acceptable. Money is now transferred almost instantaneously and so should the products – if this is not done, expect a drop in return custom and a reduction in sales.
Customer service has always been notoriously slow to respond in many industries. But with the explosion of social networking there is now no excuse. Companies can use social media sites to keep customers up-to-date, in real-time, with any problems and the ongoing progression of an order.
People will not stand for 2-3 day delays for email replies anymore. What used to be a fast response is now an unacceptable waiting period. An initial automated response is still tiresome but acceptable, but the follow-up answer needs to arrive sooner rather than later – or complaints will follow. People are not willing to accept ‘sorry for the delay’ excuses anymore.
Companies that sell physical products cannot be expected to deliver immediately – but they are not exempt from the real-time environment. Customers need same day replies and they expect to be kept in the loop every step of the way, from order confirmation, to payment process, and then finally told that their package has been processed, shipped and when it will arrive at their door.
Process and packaging needs to be closely monitored and delivery times kept to a minimum. Customers will accept a 3 business day delivery estimate, as long as the company has processed the order efficiently and kept the customer constantly updated with the progress of their order.
The old saying ‘Time is Money’ describes the problems facing businesses that fail to respond and accommodate this new real-time perception. If they cannot make efficient use of their time and adapt to this new post-haste consumer expectation, they should anticipate a realistic reduction in their money from a sudden decline in business.