The Power of Choice: the Best Ways to Increase Customer Autonomy

Ways Increase Customer Autonomy

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The modern customer is someone who requires more choice but needs more freedom, and this can be at odds with our abilities to deliver as a business. We need our customers, and this means that we need some assurance from them that they will ultimately purchase from us or engage with us in some way. This can easily result in us embodying a mindset that is somewhat controlling because we have to sell, and this creates pressure. 

However, one of the best approaches to selling is to not have pressure at all. This is where increasing customer autonomy can be invaluable. Autonomy is one of those things that is a brilliant tool for businesses because they are saying to the customer, “you have the freedom to do what you want.” When they have that freedom, there’s no pressure, and it also builds in a huge amount of trust. So what can we do to increase customer autonomy?

Create a Self-Service Environment

We should increase the levels of autonomy throughout their journey, whether online or in the real world. For those operating brick-and-mortar stores, a self-service environment is a perfect tool that allows customers to interact with the product on their terms. There are companies like Bouncepad, who have been a global market leader in tablet kiosks & stands since 2011, that provide these types of tools to allow customers that time to understand a product. 

We can try the “hard sell” and engage with people through conversation, but there are individuals who don’t like to be bombarded, especially if they don’t know anything about a product. When a customer understands what a service or product does inside out, they can decide if this is the right one for them. As a result, this can lead to increased loyalty and a reduced sense of “churn.” One of the age-old strategies for selling is to keep churning through people until they find the right one, but taking a step back and creating a self-service environment allows you to observe who the right customer is at the very outset.

Be Open

Openness and transparency should be a default setting. In the modern age, we should promote every single part of our business inside and out. This is not just beneficial to the customer because they can see what you are all about and if you align with their ethos, but it also allows businesses to learn how to provide the right data and information, highlighting how a product can fill a person’s needs. 

Customers should have the option to conduct an assessment of how proficient a business is. When we lay all our cards on the table, the customer has more opportunities to assess our abilities, but it also makes for a far better relationship between the customer and the company.

Focus on Customisation and Personalisation

Ensuring the ball is in their court can feel somewhat precarious from our perspective. After all, we think we need to have complete control over what our customers do and do not see, but if we can place a better focus on how a customer chooses to interact with us, we can give them the service they need, but it also means we don’t need to invest in as many resources. 

A very good example is a comprehensive FAQ section. More people than ever don’t want to interact with a human, which is why something like chatbots can be an excellent investment because you can customise these tools to give customers the answers they need without necessarily having to speak to a person. In the realm of contact centres, there’s a focus on giving customers a choice as to who or what they’d like to interact with. Partly, people prefer chatbots because they don’t need to speak to a human unnecessarily and “re-input” a lot of information. 

When speaking to a person on a phone, there’s no guarantee as to whether they will “compute” that information properly, and if we end up going back to the same call centre with a problem and speaking to different people, we can invariably repeat ourselves constantly, which adds to our frustration. When we give customers as much information as possible in a method that suits them, they will find answers more efficiently, but they will also decide whether they would rather contact support. 

Many people prefer to engage with contact centres when there is a real problem or an emergency. Customers want to know that the problem is being solved rather than putting their blind faith in an automated tool. But for so many problems, an excellent FAQ section can work wonders. It’s definitely worth taking the time to invest in constantly updating your FAQ section to make it easier to read, which will reduce the headcount in your contact centre and should make everybody happier.

Ask Their Opinion

Finding the right customer is about playing the game of demographics. While tools like automation can work to help your business in so many ways, it is far more important to use the right tools so they target the right people. This is why it’s far better to begin by understanding who your core audience is and then gain an understanding of what they really want. 

Smaller businesses make the mistake of a blanket approach to delivering their services. We should always target who our ideal customers are and therefore learn how to engage with them better. These days surveys and customer feedback are a common part of when a person purchases from us, but when a customer does not buy a product, we’ve got to find some way of getting insight into what they really think. 

A quick question before they leave the website is one approach, but we need to give them something in return like a voucher or an experience in exchange for their honest opinion.

The world of customer service is evolving at an exponential rate. Customer autonomy is something that we’re all striving for because of constrained resources, but it can have a very positive impact on our business and how customers perceive us. Not everybody wants to have complete control, but if you give customers the choice, it doesn’t just make life easier for you and them but can have a positive impact on your company as well.

 

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