Two of the key 'ingredients' of Dramatically and Demonstrably Different businesses are 'being easy to buy from and deal with', and 'ongoing engagement' with customers. Here are 3 'apps' that I think highlight the way things are going when it comes to creating great customer experiences.
The first is from CSL Sofas, the furniture people. It allows you to browse their sofas, arrange deliveries, pay balances and earn money by recommending your family and friends all in the palm of your hand.
The 'Dramatically Different' bit is the fact that you can see a particular sofa in your own living room using 'virtual reality'! That takes away a lot of hassle and uncertainty, and I'm sure makes it 'easier to buy' the sofas, and improves the overall customer experience.
Another 'easy to buy from' app is from Starbucks - They've ended 'fiddling with coins misery' and you can now pay for your coffee with a swipe of your phone! If you're a card-holding Starbucks customer, you can link the new app to your account, allowing one-touch payment at around 700 Starbucks outlets across the country. It also includes a store locator, food menu and a drink builder feature, and should clearly mean a much faster, more convenient and hassle-free shopping experience for all customers!
As well as helping customers, it also clearly benefits Starbucks! Since the launch of mobile payment in the USA this time last year, apparently there have been 26 million mobile transactions and $110m has been loaded onto Starbucks Cards directly through the mobile app.
It also helps Starbucks to 'engage' with their customers. The coffee retailer has also launched a new rewards programme that offers customers benefits such as a free drink for every 15 purchases, and super-loyal customers who clock up 50 visits, get 'special' gifts including free espresso shots and whipped cream!
Ian Cranna, Vice-President of Marketing for Starbucks UK said "Customers are looking for extra value. This scheme allows us to be more personal, rewarding the most frequent customers with extra benefits. We also know that fewer customers want to use cash, so putting My Starbucks Reward on mobiles offers a faster, easier way to pay."
Talking of 'engagement', this third 'app is a great way of 'engaging' you. It fines you if you don't go to the gym!
Gym-Pact has been developed by two Harvard graduates and when you sign up, you decide how many days a week you want to go the gym, along with what sort of penalty you will be slapped with if you're too lazy to get there! You need to commit to at least one day a week for 30 minutes.
Once you've downloaded the app to your phone, you hit the check-in button every time you arrive at your gym and it will confirm your location. If you leave before the required 30 minute workout, you get an audible pop-up warning you that your workout will be canceled if you don't go back and sweat it out for full visit. If you fail to get to the gym altogether, the credit card that the company keeps on file will be charged $5 per visit!
Those that do turn up as agreed, get to share the fines at the end of the week as they are paid in to your Paypal account! Again, it's a great example of 'engagement' - customers proactively 'commit'!
What does this mean for you and your business? I'm not suggesting that you rush out and develop an 'app, what I am saying that examples like this set the benchmark for customers! They rasise the bar for everyone. Regardless of whether you offer sofas, coffee or gym memberships your customers want YOU to be 'easy to buy from' and 'engage' with them whether that's online or offline!
Right, I'm off for a coffee (Not the gym!)