From online ordering to phone banking, the contactless trend has been on the rise for years. But it's now more important than ever. Investing in contactless technologies can help customers feel safe and comfortable doing business with you while also reducing risks for your staff. Let's take a look at how and why contactless is taking the world by storm, and why your business needs to be part of the movement.
Contactless Signals Care - and Drives Interest
Contactless technologies have traditionally been associated with convenience. Automatic doors make it easy to leave a store with bags or a shopping cart. Contactless public transit cards speed up peak our lines at train stations. Online ordering and customer care reduce the load on support staff. However, the COVID-19 related shift we're currently seeing is all about care. The brands incorporating contactless technologies into their workflows are signaling to their customers that they understand the gravity of the situation we're facing, and want to ensure that customers are being looked after. Their well-being is being considered every step of the way.
With consumer demand diving in many industries, it's the brands that are embracing contactless technologies that are thriving. Hard-hit hotels are pivoting to self-managed check-in options or contactless pool or restaurant bookings. Retailers like CVS are doing away with cash payment options in favor of app-based payments such as Venmo and Paypal. And restaurants and cafes have thrown out their paper menus in favor of digital ones. With 55% of people saying contactless technologies are a top factor influencing their choice of restaurant, it's a no brainer.
Making the Move to No-Contact
While going contactless makes sense in this COVID-19 times, the extent to which you want to invest in contactless technologies depends on the scope and scale of your business. If you serve huge numbers of customers, you might want to invest in an app or proprietary technologies so that your customers don't experience long wait times and your staff doesn't become overwhelmed. If you're on the smaller side, a more analog-type solution such as phone ordering from a menu posted online might be the way to go. These options keep costs down while also ensuring your staff is looked after.
Here are a few contactless options your business can consider:
- Let's take this curbside. Minimize the number of people who actually come into your establishment with a pick-up only business model. There are plenty of ways you can approach this. Starbucks lets you order through its app, while local libraries let you reserve books online and call ahead when you're ready to swing by. You could also try using digital menus that incorporate QR codes. Oakland's Temescal Brewing has a fun take on this.
- No money, no problems. Skip the hassle and risk associated with handling money by incorporating contactless payments. The lo-fi version of this involves having customers put exact change into a tub that you then set aside for a week or so. High-tech versions include encouraging people to pay via credit card through Apple Pay, or paying via apps such as Zelle or Venmo.
- No more dead trees. Does your business send customers home with printouts or paper receipts? Switch to a paperless business model and send everything digitally. You'll reduce contact between staff and customers, and you'll be doing right by the environment as well.
- Hey, I'm on my way. If your business has a waiting room, have patients, customers, or clients check-in online rather than approaching a receptionist. You can greet them at the door rather than having them wait, improving their experience, and minimizing exposure.
- Where doors open for you. If your office or store has manual doors, lights, or other button-toggled technologies, consider switching to automated options. Automated doors are convenient and good for accessibility. Sensor lights minimize contact and also save your company money. There's no better time to get on the smart office train!
COVID-19 has fast-tracked the already speedy shift towards contactless technologies. To keep your customers and staff safe, and ensure that you're keeping up with your competitors, now is the time to make the shift towards contactless technologies. Your customers, staff, and Google reviews will thank you for it!