Consumers increasingly expect to be able to do, book, and order what they want, whenever they want. The rapidly growing use of technology and smartphone apps to deliver labour and services in a variety of ways has challenged many of the fundamental assumptions and structures of various traditional industries such as the domestic services sector.
Many older, established businesses view this on-demand culture as a threat and talk of the "balance being upset". But is it? Using technology to create business opportunities for individuals in traditional domestic services industry can improve it and make it more competitive. Technology combined with domestic services can be a powerful source of wealth creation and jobs for many individuals. Technology has allowed for a quicker and more convenient way of doing things and is changing the domestic services sector.
The appeal of using technology in this industry is relatively straight forward. What consumers today are looking for is a little extra convenience. Previously, if consumers wanted to book someone to come to your home, you would have to call various companies, receive various quotes and then decide who was a best fit for your domestic services needs.
Today, there is a fully digitalised market with a multitude of individuals are ready to come and help you with whatever task you need assistance with. However, it is not just the technology that is allowing consumer and service providers to connect, it is that consumers are starting to utilise the services offered on the digital market.
The growth of these services mean that consumers are getting used to what they want, where they want, when they want and of course, the cost of the convenience is very reasonable and competitive. In addition, what makes using these services more appealing is that there you are not required to commit to an on-going thing and will inevitably attract consumers who otherwise may not have booked a cleaner in the past. The appeal of a one off clean can be very persuasive.
Creating a service
When it comes to using technology, the task at hand is not so much to re-imagine the domestic services industry offering, but rather, how to efficiently and effectively take advantage of technology to bring services online whilst maintaining the core of a domestic services business. An example of this is the introduction of booking apps, providing customers with the ability to book a service instantly. This simplicity is changing the way the sector works.
The goal of technology offering easy accessibility is met with challenges including maintaining the service culture. It’s important to ensure the service is provided by professionals, with true industry knowledge so that customers feel at ease.
Because of digital transformation, listening to and acting on customer feedback has become easier. It’s this feedback that companies can act on to improve their offering and must be continually improved. Good service is about managing expectations and delivering an excellent experience, and technology is enabling this.
The customer and brand relationship
Technology is playing a crucial role in the evolution of customer and brand relationships. Customers are increasingly savvy when it comes to their power as consumers and what they expect from brands. Businesses must understand this and reflect it in the way their company operates.
It is all about the customer experience and this is influenced by how a customer interacts with your website, mobile app, social media channels and online review sites. Customers and prospects regularly research reviews and past experiences online before deciding if they want to purchase a service. Studies show that 69 per cent of consumers look for advice before making a purchase, and 70 per cent of those customers turn to online reviews, while 57 per cent of customers turn to social media. For your business to survive in a world where technology is constantly changing, you must adapt and understand what they want. It is important to ensure that your company is customer-focused and maintains strong relationships.
Communication between brand and consumer
Online services are offering more transparency - there are less barriers between a brand and the consumer. Anyone can directly communicate with a brand on various platforms including social media, via online chat functions, and rightly expect to be able to do so. However, while this level of transparency has opened up new opportunities to measure the customer experience and satisfaction, it has also created a new challenge for businesses. Reputations are easily tarnished online (just look at the viral United Airlines video from this month) and must be continuously monitored.
Despite the move online, we must remember that customers still need to feel a personal touch when it comes to their experience. Many customers still like to have the option to call and speak to a real person rather than solely have to deal with automated services for all questions and concerns. Often, companies can forget about this small detail that can make all the difference and can lead to frustrated customers.
In any sector, competitiveness will always depend on the capacity of any firm to constantly innovate and upgrade and the implementation of technology in the domestic services sector has created more competition. This is driven by consumer expectations, who view the ability to be able to get something when they need it as the norm, and is why we are seeing more online based businesses pop-up in the domestic sector. Businesses have seen a need for improvement in a traditional industry that may not be viewed to as the most progressive, and used technology to evolve and push the sector forward.
Companies are constantly adapting to the ever-changing pros and cons that come with technology. The new customer-centric focus for products and services is something that most businesses have been doing for a long time. The digital transformation however, is simply the latest in a series of technological innovations that let business owners cater to the need of today’s consumers. Technology is playing a crucial role for businesses and in the domestic services sector it is no different. Companies must continue to adapt and evolve or risk losing out to their competitors.
Rune Sovndahl, co-founder and CEO, Fantastic Services
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