The importance of reducing customer effort

Written by Michael Smith on the 28th of April, 2017

Screenshot 2017 04 28 At 12 01 05 Display 2

Helping customers help themselves is an imperative even in the world of bricks and mortar

In an ever-increasingly chaotic world, helping your customers create more time and space in their lives by reducing the effort required to communicate is paramount to the success of a brand or organisation.

You must metaphorically carry your customer through their journey on a sedan chair, pre and post sale. Delivering this requires a more tactile approach and recognition that self-managing and using short form messaging such as chat or social media is part of the ‘effortless’ equation.

According to Forrester, 77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing that a company can do to provide them with good service. However, to be able to deliver this level of mercurial service, the organisation has to recognise how consumers currently live their lives and re-engineer their support accordingly.

Smart devices have undoubtedly empowered and changed our behaviour in a way whereby we seek to communicate with brands from our living rooms, with limited human interaction whilst twin-tasking or watching TV. In a recent report, 32% of us said that telephone was the most frustrating way of engaging customer service.

Take Primark. E-commerce is not core to their retail proposition yet their customer demographic is millennial. Even with a huge store network staffed with brand-advocating colleagues, effortless service at all hours is an imperative. Hence, why we have built Primark an eminently searchable Help Centre solution to drive customer self-management and manage conversations on social media.

Organisations have to recognise that ‘effortless’ service requires them to turn traditional customer service models on their heads. If your first line support is telephony based, then you have already annoyed the customer before you have even answered their call. Press 1 for, press 2 for etc etc. Your customer has also had to put Netflix on hold or call from the office during ‘opening hours’.

We want to solve or move things from our mental in-trays as quickly as possible. This means either accessing an easily searchable knowledge base from a mobile phone on the sofa and answering the question ourselves; pinging a chat message to an agent with access to the same knowledge base, so they can answer for you. Or, simply tweeting a support desk to get the same result.

If you make the experience effortless, then you can keep your customers for life. Exhaust them, and they will no longer forgive you.

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