The flourishing on-demand industry is tapping in to the busy lives of today’s connected consumers. Wary of wasting time in mundane activities, consumers are happy ordering taxi services, staying at someone’s home during a holiday, ordering food and even finding a nanny — all with a few swipes — on a smartphone. Easy, convenient and fast, on-demand companies leverage the convenience consumers crave, fueling the instant gratification market.
Much has been talked about regarding the model early movers such as Uber pioneered, and now the very same model has been replicated in a wide range of sectors. The result is that the on-demand economy is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. — and perhaps in the world. In fact, 42% of the total U.S. adult population has used the services of at least one on-demand company, according to The Street.The same research reveals that 22% of the total U.S. adult population has offered services via an on-demand provider. What’s more, this young market boasts an impressive $57 billion in annual sales, according to BIA/Kelsey, and it is likely that the market will continue growing, especially outside of the U.S.
With on-demand services becoming more pervasive in our daily lives, and growing by the minute (there seems to always be a new startup launching a new service), it’s no wonder how they have impacted consumers’ behavior and expectations. Instant gratification is indeed the new talk of the town, and how brands must invest in micro-moments in a personalized, secure and immediate way.
Instant gratification is based on seamless communication between the consumer ordering the service and the company/person offering the service on the go. Consumer and provider are connected via the on-demand site or app, which makes sure that both parties are legitimate, and it also facilitates the communication between them. These two premises — security and customer engagement — should be deeply connected.
To fuel the instant gratification market, on-demand companies need to rely on immediate, reliable, omni-channel communications.
How to do it? We’ve got a few ideas to help you and your business.
Making sure users and professionals are legit
Many digital players know the issues with fake accounts, spambots, account takeovers, and other fraud threats. With on-demand services, deeply powered by digital processes, it’s no different. Protecting users and professionals starts with a registration process and continues throughout the entire account lifecycle.
There are many ways of adding security and authentication to the customer journey; a very popular method is to link the mobile phone number with an account. The reason for this is simple: In addition to significantly reducing the amount of fake accounts and spambots, this method offers a layer of convenience that perfectly matches the on-demand proposition. For instance, with sending a simple SMS verification code, users and professionals do not need to switch channels.
However, making sure users and professionals are legitimate does not stop at registration. Scanning the phone number periodically as well as asking the user/professional to re-authorize access curbs account takeovers. Password reset processes should also be in place to enable users to gain access to your service, with minimal disruption. Having the account linked to a phone number helps users recover accounts in case of simple password loss, automating password resets by utilizing a second-factor, such as SMS or voice.
Engaging users in the long-term
Unsurprisingly, on-demand companies heavily depend on mobile communication channels — SMS, push, voice, in-app messaging, etc. — to enable different communication situations and use cases, as well as users’ preferences (for example, a user might disable push notification on the app). Omni-channel communications play a key role here: No matter which communication channel is used (SMS, push, voice), each interaction needs to be shaped according to the users and the use case, and needs to complement each other as well.
To make this happen, on-demand companies are very proactive in communicating with users via notifications, reminders, customer service conversations, lost and found alerts, deals, and more. This constant stream of information makes sure the user is always informed, providing instant gratification along the way.
At the same time, on-demand companies also enable users and professionals to talk to each other directly when needed: Whether to confirm a pickup location, or to address specific users’ needs. Since on-demand companies connect strangers, privacy and security are even more relevant in these situations. Even with the variety of security precautions, direct communications — such as SMS, for example — need to include a privacy layer that avoids revealing users’ and professionals’ phone numbers. Users need to make sure that their data is protected.
Scaling communications to professionals
On the other side of the coin — and equally relevant — is immediate communications with professionals. Always on the road, professionals need constant updates on jobs, confirmations, notifications on new documentation required, renewal alerts, changes in terms and conditions, corporate information, and more.
This helps your professionals to feel involved and get opportunities in real-time.
Providing communications for “right now” brands
As the world evolves towards instant gratification, the concept of “right now” becomes the order of the day. Communications are the basis upon which those “right now” conversations and engagements happen, and therefore need to be:
- Reliable: making sure both parties are always connected, without disruption
- Seamless: making sure that omni-channel is possible, with channels complementing each other
- Secure: making sure only legitimate users and professionals are connected
- Scalable: making sure that your business can grow — locally, regionally or globally
All of these make sure that communications can become immediate no matter where the user or professional is, regardless of internet connection or push notifications availability. On-demand is about being always on. And with that, the commitment to immediate communications and instant gratification right now.