Delivering a service can be a lot like delivering a product. You know your audience, their challenges, and what they need to overcome them. But serviced-based and product-based businesses also have their differences – a lot of them. Services not only require much more customer management, but also managing all their customers’ “stuff” – records, preferences, and details – which can be a crucial part of keeping them around for the long haul.
Service-based businesses are finding new ways to make e-commerce work for them, while also giving customers an experience they can enjoy. But there are limitations with these types of solutions – and sometimes they can cause more hurdles than benefits. So, how can service-based businesses use technology to their advantage, while also giving customers what they want? Ultimately, they need to “productize” their services. Here’s how:
- Show off your services and offerings in a shoppable online store
At Facebook’s F8 event in 2015, Mark Zuckerberg said, “I don’t know anyone who likes calling businesses. It’s not fast or convenient, and it definitely doesn’t feel like the future.”
I agree, Zuck. By requiring customers to call, you’re not only limiting business to when staff is available, but they also miss out on potential customers who just don’t want to call. Services can be displayed on your website as packaged offerings for purchase or to book an appointment. Even if your services are complex or require a consultation, the online call-to-action could be enough to generate the initial conversation.
- Enable recurring revenue streams
Recurring billing doesn’t have to all happen in the back-office. Now service-based businesses can use online solutions to fit their business needs – and even offer memberships, subscriptions, recurring donations, payment plans, or other ongoing payment services online. By offering flexible or ongoing payment options and a shoppable menu, you’ll get paid faster, create incoming, predictable revenue, and simplify operations like never before.
- Mine for customer insights from purchase data
Customers are more than just sales and transactions. It’s this fact that customers want business owners to remember – and what keeps them coming back for more. There’s a lot you already know about your customers, but with the right commerce platform, you can get much more. Go the extra mile and look at your customer profiles: how often they purchase, their preferred method of payment, years they’ve been a customer, etc. Learn what they want and need in order to customize their shopping experience and build lasting, meaningful relationships.
- Automate with software tools
As your service-based business continues to grow, hiring or contracting positions can be costly and time-consuming. With the right service commerce platform, billing, order management, cash flow reporting, follow-up communications, payment reminders, and even appointment scheduling and re-scheduling can go from tedious and tiresome to easily automated.
- Provide a mobile-friendly online experience
Online search is the most used resource when consumers have a question or need, and 98% of people will use a smartphone to find answers. Providing an online presence with offerings that customers can easily navigate on their phones is critical to their wanting to interact with you – which means it’s critical to business growth. With the right-fit solution to help you generate online business, you can automate payments and follow-ups, as well as manage your customers and their expectations – ultimately freeing up time to capture more business.
Give your business your all – but not your whole life.
Running a business is never easy. There will be long hours, difficult clients, frustrating projects, and many other obstacles along the way. But that doesn’t mean you have to be on-the-clock, around the clock. The right technology in place can help your business scale – so you and your employees aren’t burning out. An online store keeps everything running in the background so you can always be generating business while you’re living your life on a schedule that’s sustainable.
To explore service commerce tools and an online store built for services, check out an interactive demo of PaySimple.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community