A well-integrated company is a thoughtful one in a consumer’s daily life. It gives its customers valuable information when it’s actionable and lets us better plan our schedules. A thoughtful brand provides clarity in uncertain times by letting you know what to expect with enough foresight to make changes. Whether by phone call or text message, receiving real-time updates are always appreciated because they give us the gift of time and the luxury of options. It’s stressful and annoying to arrive at the airport hours too early for a delayed plane when a text or call from your airline would have been so simple. When brands reach out to us, we’re clued into what’s going on and given enough time to do something about it.
I moved recently. When I tell people this, I get a look of sympathy because we’ve all suffered through it. It’s not just the hard labor of packing and unpacking that we can commiserate about – it’s the frustrating world of waiting. If you think about it, we’re not all that used to waiting for anything anymore, so when we have to, it’s miserable.
We are creatures of habit and moving replaces our world of instant gratification with giant delivery windows, hold music and telling three people in three different departments how the sheets you just got in the mail are the wrong color. How can businesses address and mitigate these moments of frustration? The answer is integration.
Hurry Up and Wait
During my move, a big delivery window often was the difference between a delicious, warm sandwich from the deli three blocks away, or a granola bar for lunch due to lack of real-time information. (There was one week where I had a lot of granola bars, and it’s one I won’t soon forget.) My love of a warm meal may sound high maintenance, but these are the thoughts and feelings of a real consumer, and my frustration with my moving company for not keeping me updated on my shipment. I was too afraid to leave my house, knowing that Murphy’s Law would mean I traded receiving my container of furniture for a meatball sub because I didn’t know where I stood in the delivery window.
Companies often wonder how to make consumers love them, and yet they don’t realize connecting their business operations is one of the most crucial steps. In this day and age of real-time information, companies owe it to their customers to know where they stand in the queue. If they don’t, customers get frustrated, and even “hangry” (hungry-angry).
A Logical Choice
Dealing with a company that is not well integrated is frustrating. As consumers, we feel companies have all the information and power to change our situations at their disposal, but choose not to. It’s completely logical. With my move, I know the company took the order, schedules the trucks, and know how many deliveries there are each day. So setting expectations on how my delivery is going should not just be their business, but their top priority in making me feel like an important customer. Not only do they already have all the information that I want from them, but they know how upset I am they aren’t providing me with updates.
Give me a tracking number, provide me with an app, keep me in the loop and let me know when I should make my mad dash for lunch. When a company is well connected, they have the power to make customers feel valued with the updates they need — when they need it. Integration enables companies to be proactive and head-off frustration before it gets a chance to start — or before our stomachs start to rumble.
For more information on integration, take a look at this white paper.