This year marks the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law.
If that doesn’t mean anything to you, then you’ve officially failed the geek test. Moore’s Law was the prediction made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel, that continual improvements in technology, engineering, and manufacturing would double computing power roughly every two years while decreasing costs.
He was right — for the next five decades and still going strong, which explains, in part, why Apple customers’ shiny new iPhone 6 Pluses will already be outdated models by September. According to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, elucidating the exponential growth that Moore’s Law represents, Intel’s latest CPU offers 3,500 times the performance, is 90,000 times more energy efficient, and costs about 60,000 times less to manufacture than its original 1971 predecessor.
Struggling To Keep Up
While the technological innovations aided by immense computing power may steadily continue to outstrip prior years’ achievements, human beings do not embrace change as easily. Inertia, trepidation, and lack of information all play a part, and it is up to innovative companies to find ways around these barriers if they hope to stay competitive — and bring customers along for the ride — in a tech-dominated marketplace that is still evolving fast.
So how can companies today help customers learn to keep up with the exponential rate of technological change? How do you persuade not just the early adopters but also the mainstream consumer marketplace to adopt new products, services, and technologies quicker? Here are three possible solutions to a dilemma facing nearly every industry that depends on technology to engage its customers:
1. Make It Necessary
Consider Apple Pay, the mobile payment service introduced in October 2014. As of last month, 76% of users of Apple Pay-enabled devices still haven’t tried it. And despite Apple’s claims of reaching one million vendors, at least 87% of small businesses don’t accept it. So even though you can use Apple Pay at major chains like Staples and McDonald’s, you can’t really leave your credit cards at home. There’s no real incentive to learn something new that theoretically could reduce the bulk in your pocket if you still have to carry everything else around.
Whatever new technology you are trying to introduce to your customers, you have to demonstrate clear benefits. Make it clearly superior to the service or technology your customers have grown used to. If you just introduced online chat support and want to prioritize that channel to save costs, it should provide a shorter hold time and a quicker time-to-resolution than phone support. Otherwise, if it’s just another option among many, customers may default to the path of least resistance and pick up the phone. But if all else fails, make it necessary by removing all other options — like Facebook did when it launched a major redesign in early 2009, much to the ire of its change-fearing users, who probably all love it now. As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not the audience’s job to tell us what they want in the future, it’s for us to tell them what they want in the future.”
2. Talk About It. A Lot.
If you don’t promote and celebrate the new innovations to your customer experience, don’t expect your customers to. If you want a mobile payment option that actually has taken off, look no further than Starbucks. Why are 16% of all Starbucks purchases via mobile payment (and why are 90% of all mobile payments made at Starbucks)? It undoubtedly helps that Starbucks issues constant reminders and explanations of how to purchase that way — at the point of sale, on the Starbucks website, and in interactions with employees. There are links on the homepage that direct users to download the mobile app so they can “conveniently pay for purchases.”
It’s difficult to not be aware of the technology, especially once you notice the “social proof” in the form of customers in front of you swiping their phones to pay in stores — which, as you fumble for your credit card with ten people waiting behind you, really does seem better.
3. Make It Too Convenient To Refuse
You know how you hate to be behind the guy at the airport who can’t get his mobile boarding pass to scan at the security stand, as the agent adjusts the screen to accommodate the scanning device? It makes you wonder why people even bother when paper tickets are relatively foolproof. If you want your customers to see value in technology designed to improve the CX, create technology that actually improves the CX.
What’s the appeal of self-help videos for customer service purposes, for instance? No wait time, no need to shift from one communication channel to another, complete autonomy. But what’s even better? Video that is also mobile-friendly, because 55% of Internet usage is on mobile devices, versus 45% on desktop displays. Just like Apple Pay being a service that is mostly available only at big retail chains, self-help videos that are only playable on desktops don’t move the needle as much, and those otherwise self-helping mobile customers may resign themselves to calling your company’s phone-support team instead. Convenience adds value, while frustrating experiences detract from it and give customers even more reason to take the more familiar, well-worn path.
Of course, customers are not averse to new technology just because it’s new. By some accounts, mobile banking is still in its infancy. But in 2014 39% of adults with a mobile phone reported using their cell phone to access their bank accounts, up 20% from the prior year. Considering the security concerns and general sensitivity people have around their financial information, those numbers are proof that truly superior, well-promoted, and convenient new technology can gain rapid acceptance despite initial reservations. In fact, if you listen to some proponents of Moore’s Law, it seems that in a few years you’ll be able to have your personal robot do your mobile banking for you.
That is, if your bank can convince you it’s worth trying.
Image source: Intel Free Press, used under CC BY-SA 2.0. Gordon Moore with Robert Noyce at Intel in 1970.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Can Your Customers Keep Up With Moore’s Law?
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