The Importance of Reducing Customer Effort
Ten years ago, simply having an established Customer Experience platform could be enough to set your organization apart from competitors. However, as the proliferation of Customer Experience metrics and improvement has occurred across virtually every industry, it has become commonplace and expected that brands try to provide value beyond just the product or service they are selling. One specific area of a Customer Experience platform that your brand can focus on to stay ahead of the pack is customer effort, or how easy it is for customers to complete the purchasing process. According to a report published by Gray Hollins for Singlestone called “Don’t Make Me Work: Reducing Customer Effort Enhances Business Results,” there is a 15% decrease of brand impression and purchase intent when comparing complex and simple interactions. Whether this is improving the service provided by employees, eCommerce technology, shipping capabilities, etc., reducing the amount of time and effort that a customer must put forth to purchase a product or service can greatly improve the overall perception of the Customer Experience your organization provides.
One of the most obvious ways to reduce customer effort is to optimize your purchasing technology across all channels, especially mobile devices. Giving your customers the opportunity to quickly and simply complete a purchase on their mobile device can drive revenue, and improve customer perception of your Customer Experience. The overall goal is to utilize digital technology to reduce effort, focusing mainly on the three most common drivers of a complex digital effort; inconsistent experiences, unclear information and having to switch channels. (Hollins) Even if your brand is not willing to take the step towards mobile eCommerce, simply having an optimized site with useful content can drive more people to your brick-and-mortar location. According to a CMS Report, “57% of visitors said they would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.” While the importance of shifting towards mobile is certainly not breaking news, many brands are still lagging.
Customers are attracted to organizations that treat them not just as a transaction, but as a valued commodity. There are several individual actions that your employees can perform to encourage this perception, but it all starts with establishing this mindset throughout the company culture and finding out the Right Size Effort, or the balance between customer effort and organizational effectiveness. (Hollins) By including metrics like Net Promoter Score or Customer Effort Score as staples of weekly reports and employee rankings and rewards, your staff will understand and appreciate the kinds of relationships you hope to form within your organizational community, as well as with the customer. Teaching your employees to provide the kind of service and value that reduces customer effort will also increase employee engagement, because employees will be more enthused by working to help customers than only working to make as much profit as possible.
Reducing customer effort is something that all organizations can benefit from, because it leads to better rates of customer loyalty, and improves upon the existing Customer Experience platform of your brand. It’s simple really, complex purchasing transactions damage customer perception of your brand and diminish the overall value of the product or services you provide. While each individual organization will have different touchpoints to improve in order to accomplish this goal, establishing it as a core principle of your brand identity will improve customer relationships and perception, as well as increase employee engagement.
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