Are you losing customers despite your impressive services? High customer effort may be the culprit.
In 2010, Harvard Business Review published an article titled, “Stop trying to delight your customers.” Its premise is that customers stay loyal not because of over-the-top services but rather because of hassle-free experiences. Furthermore, authors Dixon, Freeman, and Toman said that customers abandon brands because of terrible services, as they act out on their “impulse” to punish poor performance.
So, essentially, even when you offer a dazzling customer experience, people won’t even glance your way if, at the sidelines, they’re going through significant pain points. They’re more likely to criticize your flaws than pat you on the back for your awesome services.
What it entails
Customer effort doesn’t refer only to the amount of work customers exert on the way to the purchase stage. It also includes the phases before and after that.
Thus, to make an effortless experience possible, brands have to make themselves readily available for queries and complaints regardless of when they are raised. Excellent customer service is measured by how prepared a call center is for solving customers’ issues.
How does this impact call centers?
When we talk about the customer effort score, we’re also talking about customer service. Contact centers exist to rid the customer journey of any form of hurdle. If managers are focused on making good impressions but fail to smooth out the tangled parts of their services, their hard work will be in vain.
It’s not that the “wow” factor doesn’t deserve the attention it gets. Rather, the lack of regard for effortless experiences must be corrected, as this has a heavy bearing on customer churn and loyalty.
Therefore, measuring the customer effort, or the amount of work customers exert to do business with a brand, must be one of the main priorities of managers and customer support providers. Here are the things you need to consider to assess effort and tweak your performance management scheme accordingly.
Is there a link between customer effort score and loyalty?
Plenty of research studies and surveys have proven that when customers exert unnecessary effort, they abandon brands. Also, delighting customers wasn’t seen to impact their motivation to stick to a brand. Mainly, customer loyalty and retention are driven by low customer effort. The easier it is for customers to do business with a company, the more likely they are to support its products and services.
These findings have a huge impact on your performance management and customer support strategy. You may need to rearrange your priorities and place more emphasis on how you can make the customer journey fuss-free, instead of placing too much credit on providing a dazzling experience.
Where it’s not applicable
The customer effort score isn’t relevant to all business types. For example, in the financial sector, organizations are expected to implement strong security measures, which are often a hassle for many customers. At the same time, these “hassles” allow financial firms to protect customer information as well as their monetary assets.
In cases like this, it’s important for brands to recognize which phases of their services must be completely hassle-free and which must be strictly regulated.
However, low effort isn’t everything.
As you aim to simplify transactions and create an effortless customer experience, you may opt to automate some services. They’re quicker and more accurate than human call center agents, but try to look at the things they can’t provide. Some of these are personalization and human interaction. These days, excellent customer service is achieved when speed, accuracy, and value blend well together. There are customer issues that would require human intervention and empathy. In these cases, brands and service providers must be able to target customers’ needs.