Reducing Customer Effort to Increase Customer Loyalty

When it comes to customer effort, there’s a big difference between an experience and an irritation.

What’s an experience?

An experience happens when the customer enjoys the effort that they put in to an interaction. Take me: I’m a bit of a bookworm, and once a month I’ll pay a visit to my local bookshop. For me, this is “me time”. I take my time browsing the shelves; I read the first page of books that catch my eye; and I have a coffee – and sometimes a cake! – before making my selection.

Experience vs. convenience

As much as I enjoy the bookshop experience, it’s not always practical. I’m a frequent traveller, and I like to read while I’m away. The night before a trip, though, I rarely have time to sit with a coffee at my local bookshop. No, in between packing and online check-in, I usually only have 5 minutes to browse the e-book store and quickly pick something.

In this circumstance, though, that’s perfect: a few taps and the book is on my e-reader. If I’m going away for a holiday rather than for business, I can even take an entire holiday library with me – and I don’t have to worry about my baggage allowance!

The contact center “experience”?

In the world of contact center sales and service, do I find myself filled with feelings of wellbeing when things take longer than they need to? Is being stuck on the phone an experience – like browsing my local bookshop – or an irritation?

An irritation, of course. Most contact centers deal with the necessary – but mundane – tasks in life. Customers don’t want to spend any longer on these tasks than they need to.

Here’s an example. I recently moved house, and so I diligently logged in to my online banking to update my address – only to discover that this wasn’t an option. A bit peeved, I phoned the bank instead, but that wasn’t any better: apparently I needed a special “telephone banking pass key”. In the end, I had no choice but to walk to my closest branch, in the rain, to make the change in person.

Feelings of wellbeing? None. Level of irritation with my bank? High.

Reducing customer effort

As we all know, the giants of the digital world have found success by reducing the effort it takes customers to part with their money. A few clicks on a website, or a few taps on an app, and just like that you’ve bought something else. I’d be the first to attest that it really is very easy to buy e-books!

When we deal with other organizations – such as our banks – we’ve come to expect, or at least hope for, this same level of simplicity, although we don’t always get it. Please: let me do the easy things by myself through self-service, and if I send you an email or SMS, then answer it promptly! If I decide to call, then route me directly to an appropriately skilled agent who can deal with my issue quickly and efficiently.

Less time spent on the mundane parts of life means that I get to spend more time with a coffee and a book. And for me anyway, that is pretty much all it takes to guarantee my loyalty.

For more information about reducing customer effort to increase customer loyalty, check out our new infographic.

 

Oonagh McBride

Head of Inisoft