Customer Effort: Actions to Improve Results
Measuring customer effort has been a widely discussed topic in the service community for roughly six years. A recent article from the Harvard Business Review pushes the topic further into the spotlight with the provocative title, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.” Over time, many companies have worked to incorporate the measurement of customer effort in an attempt to determine the best way to drive loyalty among their customers. The good news is that the desire to minimize the level of effort a customer must take to do business with your company is a great realization for organizations to have. The bad news is that many struggle with understanding what customers perceive as “heavy” or “unnecessary” effort.
I am sure you woke up this morning with an immense desire to call an 800#, send an e-mail to your service provider or login to a company’s online tool to chat regarding an issue … NOT!!! Customer effort starts even before an interaction with the business takes place. It is the fact that you have to make the call to get that issue resolved that gets it started. Now, there’s no arguing that this is going to happen on occasion. Customers understand that. But if they call when they need help and have to wait for an extended period of time, you have compounded the issue. As such, the first pressure point to address effort is to ensure you have the appropriate resources available to answer customer questions regardless of their channel of choice. This applies incremental pressure on forecasting organizations to get it right. For most organizations, this breaks the mold of traditional staffing models. But is the first (and many customers would argue) the most important aspect of effort, since the first experience customers have when they reach out is … the dreaded wait. Eliminate or reduce the dreaded wait times and customer effort results improve. Utilization of an on-demand resource platform has helped many organizations achieve this.
Companies spend millions of dollars in developing customer facing apps that make it easy for customers to do business via their mobile device or through building world-class online tools. This is a great way to reduce customer effort through self-service. An important component to remember is the development of similar (or even the same) tools for agents assisting the customers. Simplifying tools that agents use to solve customer issues or sell a product is a key way to decrease customer effort, as it typically reduces the length of the interaction and reduces/eliminates hold. A good rule of thumb is simplifying agent effort equals reduced customer effort.
These actions put the customer at ease, and pause the long wait time hold music. It’s an interesting and worthwhile topic for organizations to start thinking about in their quest for delivering the best customer experience possible. Because satisfied customers are returning customers.
Author Bio: Robert Padron, Senior Vice President and General Manager
Robert Padron is Senior Vice President and General Manager at Arise. Robert is responsible for supporting clients in the Telecommunications and Travel industries. Robert joined Arise in 2010 as Director of Client Results, focusing on the company’s large scale client base and developing operational practices that could be leveraged across Arise’s client base. Robert holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in business administration and the other in music from the University of Miami. He has a Masters of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.
Top image courtesy of www.cwcs.co.uk