A Day in the On-Demand Life
It’s 6:00 a.m. and my alarm goes off. I stumble out of bed and head to the kitchen only to realize I haven’t anything to make a decent meal. Knowing I have a long day ahead at the office, I grab my smartphone and open the Instacart app. I select everything I want in a few minutes knowing that someone will drop a bag of food off at my doorstep later today, and I’ll have everything I need for an IHOP-worthy breakfast tomorrow morning. Relieved I don’t have to step into a grocery store today, I quickly request an Uber to take me to work and head out the door. The driver who knows I leave at the same time every morning is around the corner waiting. While enjoying the Uber ride and listening to my Spotify playlist on the car’s Bose sound system, I schedule a monthly cleaning for my apartment with a few taps on Task Rabbit. I’m feeling like a massage tonight after work, so I’ll go ahead and schedule one of those through Zeel too.
Man, life is good.
The Sharing Economy is Expanding Quickly
“We are Uber for X.” Almost every day I hear of a new startup launching with this value proposition and high hopes of succeeding in what’s been coined the “sharing economy”. The space is hot, and for people who can afford to use these services and apps widely, life can’t get much better. One critic said it well in a brilliant tweet:
Sharing-driven companies are growing at absurd rates and amassing huge followings. In five years Uber has become a $50 billion dollar company, and the total size of the sharing community is expected to double in the next year.
Why Are These Companies So Successful?
True, they offer cost-effective, easy, convenient, and emotionally-fulfilling services, but what’s fueled growth is the obsessive focus on the customer experience. A recent report states that more than 90% of sharing economy customers would recommend the service they used most recently to a friend.
Because they rely on network effect to grow, these companies must be dialed in to the customer’s needs, wants, and desires. A certain level of trust is required to hop in a car with a stranger or let someone you’ve never met come into your home. That trust can only be established if a company has built a strong relationship with its customers.
Customer Experience In The Sharing Economy
When it comes to providing remarkable customer experiences, big brands can learn a lot from companies operating in this new economy. A good way to start is to recognize and understand a few principles that sharing economy companies seem to master intuitively:
- Recognize that the experience is the brand
- Always be listening, responding, and acting
- Cultivate a community that shares similar values
- Empower customer interaction and get out of the way
- Develop a loyal following by taking the “thinking” out of transactions
- Build trust by enabling and nurturing human connections
There’s no doubt that sharing economy companies have raised the customer experience bar. Big brands have their work cut out for them if they want to compete and deliver remarkable customer experiences in what is shaping up to be a new economy. It has also been said that the currency of the sharing economy is trust.
Companies that are late to the party may wish to start investing in this most human and most valuable commodity – quickly.