Getting customers involved in service delivery by “putting them to work” often improves the service and the overall experience. In fact, service is always created with customer participation.
It’s in our nature to enjoy participating and contributing even when we are paying for something. For example, IKEA customers happily pull from the warehouse, transport, and then assemble their own furniture in exchange for attractive prices and instant availability.
Customers have always been involved in service delivery as the service is a product created in their presence and as such is shaped by them.
It is often said that even if a company does not want customers involved in their business design and delivery, it will happen.
One (not so) obvious thing to keep in mind, when passing on tasks to customers, is that it needs to add value for both sides - only win-win scenarios should be considered. With recent advances in technology, there have never been more tasks that can be passed on to consumers while enhancing their overall experience.
Ways you can put your customer to work
- Restaurant payments. With customer-pay-at-the-table apps, like ReadyToPay, the cumbersome “deliver-the-bill-then-deliver-the-payment-terminal system” becomes a thing of the past as guests assume control and responsibility for the payment. Guests enjoy saving time when they dine and servers enjoy more time to focus on delighting guests. Win win.
- Endless aisle technology. Size and availability checkers in shoe stores to reduce wait times. Endless aisle eliminates one of the most time-consuming steps in the history of shopping – waiting for a sales associate to check if there is a right shoe size available at the store. Instead of waiting, shoppers can check by scanning the display shoe. If the shoe is not available in store, shoppers have the option to have the pair shipped from the central warehouse to their home (Dropship).
In summary, we can ask a lot from our customers if we give something back. When customers perform a task, that results in faster and more effective service delivery, they feel like a part of your team and build up the confidence to come back and “work for you” some more.