The rising prominence of convenience tech
November 12, 2013

For the average individual, using a service often hinges upon the simple concept of convenience. Institutions can offer any number of savings and benefits to potential members, but unless they're easy to access, people might seek out a simpler-to-use alternative. Consumers could realize hundreds of dollars of savings per year by using coupons more frequently, but many don't. Many people will recycle bottles because they can be worked into a grocery store trip, but few individuals do the same with other objects, even when it might be profitable to do so. 

Some businesses recognize that convenience is perhaps the first advantage their services should include and, in this age of powerful mobile devices, have emphasized that advantage in their apps and other points of contact with customers. TechCrunch dubbed this "convenience tech," and the trend has informed the development decisions of a number of businesses in the past year. 

​Tap, tap, done
Another TechCrunch article recently highlighted the MyTime booking app, which helps simplify how consumers make appointments for haircuts, massages and a variety of other services. With MyTime, customers can bypass many of the complications generally entailed in arranging a meeting with a dentist or for auto repair. TechCrunch noted that doing so often involves calling during business hours, trying to catch a moment with an overworked receptionist, discussing which dates are open and then possibly exchanging credit card information. 

Some companies offer web booking, but as TechCrunch pointed out, even that can be a chore. 

MyTime is hardly unique and its app has been compared to Uber's, the transport company that lets users quickly contact a car through the Uber app by automatically charging for payment and using mobile geo-location features to locate nearby drivers. TechCrunch explained that when an act is complicated, many people will be reluctant to repeat it. The source elaborated that consumers might book fewer haircuts, delay having their engine checked and other activities. This can translate into a considerable loss of sales for businesses, as potential customers will employ their services less frequently throughout the year. 

Encouraging regular use
By contrast, creating a frictionless environment can enhance how often people engage with an organization's offerings. While consumers have many concerns, such as security, price and other features, convenience increases the chance of repeat customers. 

As groups begin transitioning more into the mobile landscape, they should keep simplicity and ease in mind. They are traits that are important almost regardless of the sector, private or otherwise. The two advantages should also be factored into most aspects of the institutions and how they interact with their users. Often, this means logging in and, for businesses, offering payment. Most security experts and even everyday people would agree that complicated credentials are the best way to protect against account breaches, but in practice, most individuals opt for readily remembered, readily hacked authentication details and complicating that process might harm member relations. 

For governments and health care providers, convenience can improve service and allow the institutions to manage more people in a swifter amount of time. For businesses, the trait translates into much the same, with a revenue boost as well. That said, getting rid of obstacles to use a service shouldn't mean negatively impacting functionality, security or a number of other measures that are often associated with complexity. They are not mutually exclusive, when implemented right, and can be a considerable boon to user relations.