Aug 10, 2020
How to Make Your Experience Easy and Gain
I hear things like this when I go into an
organization: "We want to delight customers at every moment of
contact." I nod my head and smile, but secretly I think it sounds
exhausting. Moreover, it is unnecessary in many parts of the
experience. People many times do not want to be delighted; they
want to be done already. Keeping it as easy as possible for
customers to get it done is a direct path to gain growth.
Whenever you make customers think about something in
your experience, you create what we call Customer
Effort. A Customer Effort
Score measures how difficult a customer thinks it is
to work with you as an organization. Like other Customer Experience
measures, deriving your Customer Effort Score involves asking your
customers how difficult they thought their experience was and then
having them rate it on a scale.
There are a few significant takeaways behind reducing
Customer Effort and keeping it as easy as possible.
- Rational thinking, which is the type that takes a
lot of energy to do, is something customers are not super excited
to do most of the time. We prefer to use easy, automatic thinking
and save our energy for other activities. Humans established this
preference over the cour thousands of years, because, for many of
these years, securing food was a challenge. We needed to preserve
our energy for other things, like avoiding predators.
- We also use habits to simplify our thinking. Many
times, we learn to do something using the rational side of our
thinking. Repetition makes the behavior habitual, which is governed
by our automatic and intuitive thinking system.
- As a general rule, customers want things easy.
However, some specific instances exist where the experience should
be a little complicated. These rare occasions usually involve
status items, like the American Express Centurion Card, a card so
hard to get you can't ask for it; American Express asks you if you
want it. Since it isn't for everyone, and it is hard to get,
customers like that the experience is challenging. Examples like
this, however, are not the norm.
- You must make your experience as easy as possible
for customers, so you get a low Customer Effort Score and get your
customers to come back for more.
Authors Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, and Nicholas
Tobin wrote in the Harvard Business Review the
article "Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers." There were five
principles they shared help organizations reduce the Customer
Effort in your experience, which includes:
- Don't just resolve the current issue; head
off the next one. I like how this principle is
proactive and removes obstacles that would keep customers from
doing more business with you.
- Arm reps to address the emotional side of
customer interactions. When your team is minding the
customer's emotions, it eliminates moments in your experience that
can cause uncertainty or stress for customers. For example,
changing the language reps use with customers can communicate
better and put customers' minds at ease.
- Minimize channel switching by increasing
self-service channel stickiness. You train your
customers on navigating your experience, whether you are deliberate
about it or not. People have ways that they get what they want
based on the experience you design for them. Therefore, creating it
without friction is essential. Moreover, we would encourage you to
ensure that you weigh the benefits of any changes you want to make
to your experience against the hassle and disruption it will cause
your most valuable customers.
- Use Feedback from disgruntled or struggling
customers to reduce Customer Effort. I hope this one
doesn't need any additional explanation; it's a
- Empower the front line to deliver a
low-effort experience. If your company policies are
getting in the way of customers having a smooth experience,
especially when resolving problems, change them. If your people
have the freedom and ability to solve customers' issues right away,
it reduces a lot of Customer Effort.
I would add the following two principles to the
previous five from the HBR article:
- Think about the interactions with the
customers that drive the most value for
you. This area is excellent for fulfilling the
current unmet needs in your industry. Look for ways to simplify
your experience to meet these unsatisfied wants and create
competitive differentiation with your competitors.
- Remember, it doesn't pay to be logical if
everyone else is being logical. Rory Sutherland, Vice
Chairman of Ogilvy UK, and author of Alchemy:
The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make
Sense says doing things your way
differentiates you from the competition and allows for you to
satisfy these unmet needs, too.
To discuss this further, contact us
Beyond Philosophy helps organizations unlock
growth by discovering customers' hidden unmet needs that drive
value ($). We then capitalize on this by improving your customer
experience to meet these needs, thereby retaining and acquiring new
customers across the market.
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