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Fast Service As A Business Model
Leverage this psychological feature to boost your business
Time is money
Benjamin Franklin, Advice for Young Merchants
Imagine you buy a smartphone online. After some research, you choose a brand and a model and push the “add to cart” button. Then you get your purchase paid, and the store informs you that it will deliver it the day after tomorrow.
It seems perfectly normal for most of us.
“The strategy is one way for retailers to compete with Amazon’s massive nationwide logistics network that offers same-day, next-day and two-day delivery,” said Tom Enright, an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc. “The key thing they’re all trying to chase is shipping small parcels over the shortest possible distance,” Mr. Enright said.
Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy Co., Nordstrom.Inc and many others invest big sums to fast delivery for a reason. They know that people hate to wait. You can use this human feature to boost your business model too.
The curse of the long lines
I was born and spent my childhood in a country where one had to stand in line to get everything — to buy food, pay utility bills, and visit a doctor. People lost years of their lives standing in line.
I’ve hated the lines ever since. But I am not the only one. We all do.
When I became a father, I noticed that the kids hated to put satisfying their needs off. If a child wants something — be it a toy, an ice cream, or a mom’s kiss, they want it here and now. You may try to convince a three-year-old that waiting is a part of our lives, but all you can get in return is outraged cries.
We’re creatures of evolution. It has polished our minds for centuries to help us go through life’s difficulties. So, if we want something — for instance, we’re hungry — it is a signal that we need it. And if we need something, postponing it doesn’t make sense.
When an animal needs something, it doesn’t put it away for later.
We, humans, have learned to wait, but it is a social skill. We have to wait not because we enjoy it or because it is meaningful. We must stand in the lines, sometimes symbolically, because somebody else wants to fulfill their desires as well. It is a trade-off we have to embrace to be a part of society.
But it doesn’t mean we love it.
“The notion that we should be able to meet our needs without waiting too long, coupled with the reality that many of us get a bit irritated or anxious when we have to wait too long for something we think we need or want, is so deeply and culturally ingrained in us we come to believe it’s ‘natural’ to not want to wait longer than we think we should.”
Carol Bruess, a St. Thomas professor specializing in communication behavior. Source.
Reducing waiting times as a new business model
Whatever you do for your customers — write press releases, create web pages, cut their hair, or sell them computer chips — there always is a time gap between when a customer realizes their desire and when they get what they want.
And narrowing this gap may be a competitive advantage.
Some years ago, I needed to order some souvenirs with my logo. So I sent a request to several companies and placed the order with the one that reacted first. Then I conducted a survey on two social platforms, and they revealed that many people behave the same way, especially if the sum of the contract is insignificant.
Nobody likes to wait. And so don’t your customers. Every minute you save for your customer may help you outcompete your rivals.
We usually use tools such as CJM, Customer Journey Map, to find the points on the customer’s journey from initial intention to the purchase where a customer faces difficulties. We often call them pain points. And removing these obstacles can help us improve customer experience.
But we can use the same tool to shorten waiting times and every stage of the customer journey — or remove some of them at all. The less your clients have to wait, the higher your odds of winning the competition.