Humans have an evolutionary instinct to be lazy.
We will always choose the path of least resistance.
Take the remote control, for example. Years ago, people had to get up from the sofa and walk to the TV to change the channel.
Thanks to the remote control, people can stay nestled comfortably in their favorite spot and channel surf to their heart’s content. Chances are, you can still control your LED TV directly on the set without a remote – but have you ever even bothered to look for the controls?
The remote control made TV watching easier.
Businesses that prioritize “easy” in their consumer relationship will always win. It gives companies a marketing edge and drives more business to your website or physical location—even if it costs a bit more.
Here’s a perfect example.
I needed physical therapy for a shoulder injury. But, the process of finding care was cumbersome and inconvenient due to my doctor’s poor in-network options for urgent and specialty care services.
While they attempted to source alternatives and wade through red tape, I was waiting in pain.
Fortunately, I could bypass these frustrating roadblocks, find a physical therapist and pay cash for faster, easier, and more efficient service.
I found the path of least resistance.
But I’m not the only one that values the power of easy. Consumers across every industry want faster, cheaper, and easier ways to get the products and services they want and need.
And many businesses are happy to accommodate—is yours one of them?
It’s time to change how your business is done and deliver new, innovative, and easy consumer experiences. The future of your business depends on it.
The following real-world examples have and continue to disrupt their respective industries by putting the client first and making it as easy as possible for them to access and use their products and services.
And, as you will see, sometimes the smallest change makes the biggest difference.
Real-World Easy-Powered Examples
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak made computing easier and more accessible to everyday consumers. They democratized technology by making desktop computers smaller, cheaper, and easier to use.
Today, Apple continues to revolutionize the computing industry with innovative apps, powerful content, and experiences that enrich users’ lives in more ways than ever before.
Jeff Bezos turned retail shopping on its head with one-click shopping. Getting basic life essentials or must-have items has never been easier, faster, or cheaper.
He continues to easify the shopping experience through voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo. Instead of taking 2-3 hours out of your weekend to get groceries, you can add items to your shopping list on-the-fly, and place your order without ever touching a screen.
• Southwest Airlines
Southwest revolutionized the aviation industry by making one simple change: redefining its competitors. Instead of competing with other airlines, founder Herb Kelleher left competing airlines scratching their heads and scrambling to compete when he said, “We’re not competing with other airlines. We’re competing with ground transportation.”
His goal was to make air travel accessible to ordinary people.
This simple change helped them identify and easify long-standing issues with pre- and in-flight customer experiences. He
- Developed a customer-first direct flight point-to-point flight network to eliminate hubs, transfers, and service interruption
- Incorporated open seating to speed up boarding time
- Prioritized positive customer experiences at each consumer touchpoint
- Limited aircraft purchases to Boeing 737
- Banished in-flight meals
- All of these disruptive moves helped Southwest to lower airfares and eliminate charges for seat changes, flight changes, and cancellations
BetterHelp founder, Alon Matas, experienced first-hand how professional therapy can be inaccessible, expensive, and rife with roadblocks. He revolutionized the mental health industry with a low-cost, cash-based service that makes therapy accessible, affordable, flexible, and convenient. BetterHelp allows anyone to get help anytime, anywhere, and as often as needed.
One good thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is greater access to digital healthcare services like telehealth.
For a long time, there were two main roadblocks to using telehealth
- Insurance didn’t cover it
- Videoconferencing was not considered HIPAA-compliant
In early March 2020, the federal government quickly loosened these regulations, resulting in a virtual upheaval in how healthcare is administered worldwide.
Telehealth makes healthcare not only more accessible to patients who face barriers (e.g., distance, transportation, or caretaker availability), but it also saves time and money, reduces transfers, emergency department, and urgent care center visits, and delivers savings to payers.
Also, when a patient misses their appointment, a provider can still provide care through telemedicine, so they don’t have to reschedule, thus decreasing missed opportunities and increasing clinic efficiency.
• CVS Minute Clinics
CVS Minute Clinics are revolutionizing how people receive routine and non-emergent care across the country. They are easing access to care by offering extended hours and making it much more affordable than emergency rooms, urgent care, and (often) doctor visits. In fact, CVS Minute Clinics cost 40% less than urgent care.
But they’re not stopping there. CVS Health has recently acquired a stake in the primary care market by purchasing Oak Street Health. Their next strategic move aims to take even more control of insurance, doctors, medical records, and pharmacies nationwide.
By creating Duolingo, a free language learning app, co-founder Luis von Ahn gave everyone equal access to language learning. Not only that, but Duolingo has seemingly cracked the code on making the mechanics of learning a new language fun and easy to consume.
What was once an arduous process that required enrollment in an expensive school or private lessons with a tutor can now be done from your smartphone or tablet anytime, all while nestled in your favorite spot…right next to your remote control.
Fun fact, while I remember most of my high school Spanish, for years I wanted to find the time to study and eventually become fluent. I made zero progress for decades – until my wife Clara joined Duolingo. Now I am advancing my Spanish skills at an amazing pace, and having fun while doing it. If you are a Duolingo user, you can friend us under the handle, ClaraLaPulguita.
The Consequences of Inaction
During a recent hospital conference panel discussion, a hospital executive lamented about their inability to make the billing process easier for the consumer.
Another institutional speaker from outside of healthcare snapped back, “That is exactly why we have entered the market. We are going to solve the problem because you guys can’t!”
There is a tendency in the healthcare industry to say, “We can’t do that,” or “That’s out of our control.” But, as these real-world examples illustrate, if you’re unwilling or reluctant to make things easier for your consumer, another company will be more than happy to step in, win market share, and take your business.
How to Easify Your Marketing for Clients
Start by asking, how can we make it easier and more convenient for consumers to do business with us? And identify existing consumer pain points.
Re-examine your entire business top to bottom—from your marketing and communication efforts to the way you work with consumers throughout the entire transaction and everywhere in between.
- Understand your existing and potential target audience segments and tailor marketing and outreach to meet their unique needs
- Determine how to strategically engage and empower your healthcare consumers to take a more active role in their health
- Think through service lines and staffing capacity, consider what needs you are trying to fill, and determine how to do that in the most effective way
- Evaluate your pricing, billing, reimbursement, and financing options and processes and identify ways to increase transparency and make each process more accessible
- Audit your online properties and identify needed adjustments to help consumers easily access and use your digital tools, understand your promotions, locate educational materials, and find your contact information
- Explore the different ways consumers can interact and communicate with your business or doctors and find ways to streamline it and make it easier
- Evaluate your product and identify ways to improve the design, quality, or messaging
- Assess your in-person experience and make adjustments that improve check-in and check-out processes, wait times, pre- and post-appointment communications, and after-hours access to care (e.g., email, patient portals, telehealth, urgent care, etc.)
The Bottom Line
If you want to stay on the leading edge of care and streamline your consumer experience, walking a mile in their shoes, noting obstacles to care, and finding a way to remove them is crucial.
It’s also important to stay on top of emerging technologies and determine how (or if) you can leverage them to improve your consumer experience.
If you do that, you’re halfway there. The other half requires keeping an eye on competitors and market disruptors and recognizing when your business needs to pivot.