The effortless experience: turning customer service on its head
The discovery of the Effortless Experience approach tosses everything you might know about customer service in the bin. While it may appear counter-intuitive, the approach is backed by research and practical application. Having worked in customer service for over 20 years, Dave Galloway, Traction's EVP of Service Cloud Adoption, can testify to the validity of the Effortless Experience.
What is the effortless experience?
The Effortless Experience is a customer service framework that removes the effort from each customer interaction. Rather than to focus on delighting customers, companies that follow this approach are driving customer loyalty through simple resolutions to customer problems.
“You need to give your customers fewer reasons to be disloyal, and the best way to make that happen is to reduce customer effort. ”Matthew Dixon, The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty
The Effortless Experience is based on research conducted by CEB, so I'm not just making this up. Their research draws from more than 100 companies, 5,000 agents and 125,000 customers for a grand total of three million data points.
Through hard measurements, this research reveals that an Effortless Experience approach leads to increased customer loyalty:
- 94% of shoppers had the intention to repurchase
- 88% of those had the intention to increase their spend
- Only 1% would spread negative word of mouth
What about the “wow” experience?
While we think that more “wow” leads to more customer loyalty, the Effortless Experience research shows that loyalty levels off once a customer's expectations are met and organizations end up providing more service than necessary.
I challenge you to find a “wow” experience that didn't just make the interaction less complicated for the customer. Even a deluxe adventure vacation that takes you up Mount Everest is the most effortless way to get up the mountain. Yes, a customer experience can still involve effort, but the key is to make it as effortless as possible.
“From a customer’s perspective, when something goes wrong, the overriding sentiment is: Help me fix it.”Matthew Dixon, The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty
As for those fans raving about wow experiences? You can't afford them. The wonderful stories of the Herculean effort to deliver something in time for the wedding are either not scalable or are just table stakes, depending on your business model. Companies trying to compete with Amazon can't match the e-commerce giant's ability to deliver orders within hours in certain regions.
To compete and differentiate your business, you should look at every aspect of the customer experience and reduce the effort involved in doing business with you. It sounds simple, but not easy.
Unfortunately, most customer service experiences create effort for customers, so they decrease customer loyalty. This means less repurchase, less wallet share and potentially more negative word of mouth. That's a scary scenario!
How do we make service effortless?
If you'd like to increase revenue and brand perception, start looking at the core principles of the Effortless Experience:
- Provide channel flexibility and make it easy for customers to get service on their preferred channels when the want.
- Avoid the next issue by focusing on the customer's end goal rather than the explicit issue they're trying to address.
- Engineer positive experiences through customer service conversations that emphasize what's possible rather than to reveal limitations of service.
- Empower the frontline with a quality-focused customer service approach that improves both case management and brand image.
The Effortless Experience flips traditional customer service on its head. Agents are no longer focused on driving metrics like resolution rate or average reply time; they're looking at improving (and simplifying) the customer experience to drive loyalty and positively impact your organization's bottom line. Even though percent increases are not the key driver of the Effortless Experience, I'm confident that your company will experience a direct correlation in revenue.
Consider the role of technology in your mission to drive more effortless customer service interactions. SaaS applications, like the Salesforce platform, support companies in developing a better understanding of their customer, which ultimately impacts your ability to deliver on each of the four core principles.
I’d encourage you to reach out to Traction to better understand how Service Cloud and Salesforce can be leveraged in your organization.