Make your service effortless…

… for your customers.

Recent research has shown that effortless service (service that consistency delivers on hygiene factors) is much more likely to increase customer loyalty than WOW service that fails on some hygiene factors.  This is a follow on to last weeks post about motivation and hygiene factors in customer service,

What do I mean by effortless service.  Two examples…

First example, I recently changed my phone and upgraded to iPhone 8, through SingTel. The offer was great (unlimited talk time which is valuable, plus lots of internet power) for the price, plus they offered a special deal for phoning New Zealand. They WOWed me with their offer. But after I waited half an hour as their store (as I couldn’t change my phone online) I had a service professional who was intent on getting me out of their quick by speaking very quickly and not being very good at filling out forms on their computer. I had to take over and enter my details as we couldn’t understand each other. Then she had to have this verified and I had to wait while they photocopied my I/C rather than taking a scan and uploading this. After 90 minutes of hell I got out of their. Despite all the WOW… the basic service was lousy and if I could find a service provider that could provide good basic service I would swap.  It took an enormous effort to work with SIngTel.

Second example… I recently purchased a backpack online from Cotopaxi, but noticed that I was charged twice. After connecting to their customer service website I was immediately connected with a representative who resolved my issue right away. I put in very little personal effort to get my problem resolved, and because of such, I’ll be buying form them again.

Unfortunately, not all customer service interactions are that easy or effortless.

“The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.

96% of customers reporting high-effort experiences (like me and Singtel) become more disloyal in the future, compared with only 9% of those with low-effort experiences (CEB research). That’s a significant difference and it shows that the easier you make the customer experience, the greater the chance that they’ll return.

Using my example above, I would rate my experience at the backpack company an 8. Im not sure it was my fault I was charged twice, and  thus I did have to  get online to resolve this, but my issue was resolved quickly and efficiently, with very little effort on my part.

And its not just me… Effort is prevalent 30% of all customers report spending a high level of effort to resolve their problem. To make matters worse: 57% report having to switch from the web to the phone.  56% of all customers report having to re-explain an issue. 62% report having to repeatedly contact the company to resolve an issue.

Why effort matters.  

It’s simple: customer retention is essential for any company to survive. Reducing Customer disloyalty, and in turn,  reducing customer dissatisfaction, plays a key part in making that happen. According to Kissmetrics, 71% of customers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service. Their dissatisfaction with the company’s handling of hygiene factors outweighed their satisfaction with the company’s WOW factors.

Let’s revisit my previous interaction with the backpack company. If during my email engagement I was handled by a robot who didn’t understand what i wanted or if I was transferred to another person and had to explain my issue again, or I was told to I had to create a customer profile and log in to solve this one-off problem, I would have had a significantly different experience. Customers want to know that they’re being taken care of and that they’re in good hands when it comes to solving problems and handling hygiene factors.

Consider the following:

CEB research
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Jill Griffin)
  • Acquiring new customers can cost 6-7 times more than retaining existing ones (Bain and Co)
  • “94% of customers who had low-effort experiences reported that they would repurchase from the company, while only 4% of customers experiencing high effort interactions reported an intent to repurchase” (The Effortless Experience)
  • 88% of customers with low-effort experiences reported an intent to increase spending with the company, compared to just 4% of those with high-effort experiences (The Effortless Experience)

Getting your customers to come back again and again is important. Identifying how you can reduce the work you’re making your customers do throughout the customer service process increase this likelihood.

You don’t need to WOW all the time, you just need to make interactions effortless.