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Is Customer Effort the Next Customer Experience Metric? Monica Postell

"Stop Try­ing to Delight Your Cus­tomers" arrived in my inbox and unleashed an imme­di­ate flurry of calls, emails and ideas among our merry Impact band — social learn­ing at its best. The gist of the Har­vard Busi­ness Review arti­cle by Matthew Dixon, Karen Free­man and Nicholas Toman of the Exec­u­tive Board is that their research points to a fal­lacy in the idea that cus­tomers must be "delighted" to remain loyal.  Instead "to really win their loy­alty, for­get the bells and whis­tles and just solve their problems…quickly and eas­ily." Amen, Here Here, Cheers, and Skol to that!

kate beckinsale in quicksand by acidtester Is Customer Effort the Next Customer Experience Metric?As much as I appre­ci­ate good man­ners, friend­li­ness, and respect­ful eti­quette, what I really want is some­one or some way to cut through the quick­sand, time suck­ing bog that I tend to find myself in when I have a cus­tomer ser­vice or tech­ni­cal sup­port problem.

Not every­one will agree with me but I'm drawn to self-service options. I some­how expect those options to be  ready for me and fast. Yes, quick and easy, ready and just wait­ing to serve up the infor­ma­tion I need. Unfor­tun­tely, my ques­tion never seems to be one of the FAQs and my con­fig doesn't usu­ally match the sys­tem specs in any of the help arti­cles ren­der­ing them use­less to me. Or at least that how it feels. Do you ever won­der what hap­pens to all those 'no' votes you leave in response to the ques­tion: "Was this answer help­ful?" I do.

So then I'm forced to another com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel. It could be chat. It could be a web form. It could be the tele­phone. Appar­ently, I'm not alone. The Exec­u­tive Board's research showed that 57% of the 75,000 peo­ple they inter­viewed had expe­ri­enced hav­ing to switch from the web to the phone to get an answer or help. I'm also not alone in hav­ing had to re-explain an issue or pro­vide infor­ma­tion mul­ti­ple times — 56% of cus­tomers sur­veyed expe­ri­enced that. Being trans­ferred is another poten­tially loy­alty cor­rod­ing expe­ri­ence espe­cially if you're trans­ferred to some­one who isn't there. And few things say "We don't care" quite as effec­tively as mak­ing the cus­tomers call back repeat­edly in order to resolve an issue.

Per­son­ally, I sup­port reduc­ing cus­tomer effort – espe­cially when I'm the cus­tomer — and think it's an excel­lent met­ric for mea­sur­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Here are some ideas for reduc­ing cus­tomer effort and improv­ing my cus­tomer experience:

  1. Power to the front line! If you're a man­ager, make it pos­si­ble for front line employ­ees to use their train­ing, knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence and com­mon sense to do what's right and help me.
  2. If your sys­tems don't enable you to accom­plish #1, start now to fig­ure out what needs to  change so sys­tems help rather than hob­ble efforts. As just one exam­ple, I'd be pretty excited if a rep said, "Ms. Postell?" and when I said "Yes" said "I have all your account infor­ma­tion here. How can I help you today?" That's instead of ask­ing for all the infor­ma­tion I'd already keyed in to the IVR.
  3. If you're a rep, here's a 1.0 sug­ges­tion that still works: Take notes. This is espe­cially help­ful if you have to explain my sit­u­a­tion to some­one else…so I don't have to repeat the whole story.
  4. Encour­age every­one who talks with me to use pos­i­tive lan­guage and talk about what they can do, what my options are, and what is good about what they can do for me. I'm really not inter­ested in excuses and lengthy, time con­sum­ing explanations.
  5. Add value to our con­ver­sa­tions. Give me infor­ma­tion so I won't have to call back. Teach me some­thing. Help me be more self-sufficient and con­fi­dent in what­ever I'm using of yours. 

What else would you sug­gest? I'd love to hear your ideas as soon as I get back from show­er­ing off all this grit­ting sand.

With a back­ground in per­for­mance improve­ment and instruc­tional design, Mon­ica Postell works with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems in design­ing and deploy­ing train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­grams that fos­ter real cus­tomer loyalty.
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Mon­ica Postell
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  • http://www.impactlearning.com/blog/customer-service-support/2010/09/what-drives-customer-loyalty/ What Dri­ves Cus­tomer Loy­alty? | Cus­tomer Ser­vice Blog | Impact Learn­ing Systems

    […] Review arti­cle on cus­tomer effort and its effect on cus­tomer loy­alty. She had recently writ­ten a post about the arti­cle and we were dis­cussing what we thought drove loy­alty. Lots of research has been […]

  • http://serve4impact.com/2011/11/27/is-customer-effort-the-next-customer-experience-metric-impact/ Is Cus­tomer Effort the Next Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence Met­ric? | Impact | Serve4Impact

    […] — social (From the Impact archives: Is Cus­tomer Effort the Next Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence Metric?Via http://www.impactlearning.com LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  • http://twitter.com/beidsvik Bruce Eidsvik

    Mon­ica;

    As any­one attend­ing our Genesys user group in Syd­ney last week will know, I'm a big believer in Cus­tomer Effort Score. I think it is much more action­able then NPS and much more rel­e­vant to con­sumers (btw — I'm not against NPS and see a place for both).

    As part of G Force, I did a series of 'man on the street' inter­views around what peo­ple thought about Con­tact Cen­ters. It wasn't sur­pris­ing that it was fairly neg­a­tive (always fun to get that strong feed­back). But what was inter­est­ing is that peo­ple are over­whelm­ingly more inter­ested in a sim­ple and fast expe­ri­ence vs try­ing to be 'delighted'. Just as inter­est­ing, if you asked whether they would pre­fer 'fast and effi­cient' over a 15% rebate on their next bill, the picked 'fast and effi­cient' every time. Of course, actions speak louder than words, but I was sur­prised by the con­sis­tency of the feedback.

    Bruce Eidsvik






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