What is customer effort?
We live in a complex society today. People have less free time, and they are very mindful and protective of the little time they have. We read a lot about building the perfect customer experience but less about the concept of “customer effort”
Customer effort put simply is how much trouble a customer has to go through to do business with your company. When customers are purchasing products or trying to resolve an issue they would much rather not spend time on hold to the contact centre, waiting through transfers or repeating information over and over again to different advisors. If they are lead into any of these situations, the customer effort is deemed to be high.
Research conducted by The Harvard Business Review indicated that what callers truly want is a simple, convenient, low effort resolution to their query. If the process is difficult, satisfaction declines and future business is at risk.
Why is it important to reduce customer effort?
Customer Effort has been shown to have a direct link to customer satisfaction and customer retention.
A recent study by ‘The Institute of Customer Service’ showed that 58% of people would stop buying from a company as a direct result of poor customer service and 70% would discourage others from engaging with that company. Bottom line, if your organisation is not focussed on removing obstacles to resolve customer issues, revenue and future business will suffer
Top 3 ways to reduce customer effort
Adopt Self Service Channels
Self service is the most efficient way to provide services for your customers within a company. There are many interactive solutions that allow customers to directly resolve issues for themselves without the need to communicate with an advisor; these could include billing and payments, quotations or even setting an appointment. These solutions eliminate any time spent by the customer or the agent when resolving a query or issue. Self service solutions are available 24 /7 leading to improved customer satisfaction as customers can resolve their issue whenever they require. In order for the self service to be as efficient as possible, it must be easy to find, easy to use and most importantly must provide the required answers to any issues that the customers may need.
Measure Customer Feedback
Listening to customers is arguably the most important piece of the jigsaw when it comes to reducing customer effort within your organisation. Following an interaction with your company your customers should be provided an easy, hassle free way of leaving feedback about their experience.
Methods to survey customers such as IVR, SMS and Email may all be used. The most effective method is usually by utilising the same method of communication that your customer initially used to contact your business; for example if they called in the call centre from their landline – using an outbound voice messaging survey would be deemed the most suitable method. Outbound Voice surveys (as opposed to agents transferring customers to an IVR) tend to deliver a better picture of your customer’s sentiments and feelings as it reduces the risk of agents cherry-picking their best calls.
Scripting is also important for surveys and feedback- asking the right questions with dynamic responses can steer customers into explaining exactly what made their customer journey so effortless or complicated.
The feedback gathered over time can be analysed to draw trends of customer’s reactions and behaviour to your organisation, it can highlight areas that are most in need of improvement to reduce the overall customer effort. On the flip side of that, using the positive feedback of where exactly the customers felt they had low effort can be replicated in other sections of the company for process improvements.
Mapping The Customer Journey
Last but certainly not least, mapping out the journey of a customer to the required service can show the company the number of times the customer makes contact and the channels that they use. This can be achieved by reviewing each time the customer has contact with the company and how they obtain the desired service. By doing this, the company are able to assess the common channels and paths that the customer is directed through to receive the desired service.
With this information to hand and paired with the customer feedback gathered, it is easy to highlight the most inefficient or troublesome touch points for your customers and improve them as they become apparent. If you would like to hear more information about any of the above or find out about more methods for reducing customer effort then please contact Hannah Fox on 0844 6930244 or visit www.revivemanagement.com/contact-us/