Since the rise of Amazon, customer expectations have risen exponentially. But how has this affected the level of service modern SMBs provide?

To win in the Age of Amazon, interactions with customers must be quick, complete, and fulfilling — this applies to B2C and B2Bs alike. Modern retailers are removing any and all barriers between consumers and their goods or services they provide. They realize that customers, above all, want their buying experience to be simple, convenient, and easy. These barriers take form as any steps preventing or delaying them from getting what they want — to help find a few examples of your barriers, ask yourself the following:

  • How quickly can my customers acquire my goods or services?
    • How many clicks does it take to check out?
    • Can they access the web-store though their mobile phone?
    • How many channels am I selling on?
  • How easy and safely can my customers pay?
    • How much information do they have to enter to check out?
    • Do I support modern payments methods such as Apple pay and Google Wallet?
    • Is their payment data safe?
  • How promptly can I ship or deploy my products or services?
    • How long does is handling time?
    • How long is shipping time?
    • How expensive is shipping for standard or express?

The answers to most of these questions should give you a good idea of the barriers your company has. The data associated with these questions should be organized and stored in a system and be easily accessible for future use (e.g. If a customer wants to re-order the same item, they should easily be able to look up past orders; if they want to make a return, it should be a simple and quick exchange.)

Finally, in the Age of Amazon, customers expect issues to be resolved in the least amount of time and in the easiest possible way. Your systems should help prevent errors, not make them. A simple example of this is ensuring you have the correct stock for items you’re selling; does your inventory system sync up with your web-store? A more complex example is using a bar-coding system to track inventory coming in and going out to ensure the proper items are being shipped for orders; do you have check and balances in place to increase fulfillment accuracy?

Service is no longer just the communication you have with your customers — it’s everything, and organizing that is a challenge. Luckily, business systems are catching up with this and providing the back-end support modern businesses need to compete with this new level of service expectation.

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