Some who know me well might say it’s because I don’t really like people. But I do, just not all people. Some might say it’s because I’m lazy--which I am not, I just don’t like to spend (waste?) time on things that aren’t worth it. There are only so many hours in a day, right? I don’t go grocery shopping, for example, I use Shipt for that. I don’t buy household necessities at my local big box store, I use Boxed for that. Over the last 10+ years, I have not gone to a store for anything from diapers to dog food if there was a way for me to avoid it and have it at my door pretty close to immediately.
So, when I got the 2-page long list of 7th grade supplies my son needs, I started twitching. To me, there are few worse ways to spend a weekend day than parking in a crowded parking lot full of obnoxious parents rushing around with kids in tow. Everyone is elbowing, squeezing, grabbing, bumping, and digging for the specific brand of orange and green (why???) pens the language teacher wants, not to mention the 6-tab packages of dividers. FYI for teachers: they make 5-tab and 8-tab. Choose one! Don’t make up your own and then send me on some wild divider chase.
Anyway, the point is, there was NO way I was going to tackle that list with my own two hands. And luckily, I didn’t have to. With BOPIS (aka Buy Online Pickup In-Store), I sat down at my computer in my comfy chair and handled it. And hey, the blue binder wasn’t available for BOPIS, so guess what, I ordered gray. That won’t change what my kid thinks of math either way.
The retailer’s website automatically deployed its bot to greet me and ask if I needed help finding anything. Truthfully, I could have asked if blue binders were going to be BOPIS-eligible if I really wanted to, but… no. Just no. I was 75% done with my “shopping” and I wanted to plow through.
My 7th grader approved my cart (whether or not he should get to is a topic for another blog on another website) and I submitted the order. So far, I give the experience an A+ for the BO part. Tomorrow, we’ll find out if the PIS part makes the grade. With the right combination of people and technology, I’m optimistic.
I may work in this business, but I’m a customer, too. Companies need to constantly be thinking about what their customers want and need because it’s changing by the year, by the season, by the hour. Sometimes I just want to do it myself and be done. Sometimes I want to engage with a smart bot who knows the answers, yet doesn’t add any emotion or their own POV to the exchange.
Sometimes the best customer experience doesn’t involve another person at all. And that’s quite alright with me.
What are your customers wanting this season? What are you doing about it?