in Experience Design

Creating Simplicity by Reducing Customer Effort

“Make it simple” appears 99% of the time when brands want to improve their digital experience. But what does that really mean? And how do you measure for success?

Harvard_business_reviewReport: Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers

Helping customers solve their problems quickly and easily is proven to create greater brand loyalty.  In digital experience design, “make it simple” means intentionally removing obstacles for the customer.  The long-held belief that delighting customers improves “satisfaction” is being challenged by a new way of measurement.

This new metric, the Customer Effort Score (CES) measures the transactions that make up your end-to-end customer experience.

Customer Satisfaction Scores Aren’t Actionable

Customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) are being used by 80% of customer service companies as the primary metric for measuring their experience. The common assumption is the more satisfied customers are, the more loyal they will be. But research shows little relationship between satisfaction and loyalty.

study conducted by Harvard Business Review with the Customer Contact Council interviewed 75,000 people after interacting with customer services through phone and self-service support like web, voice prompts, chat, and e-mail.  They asked three questions;

  1. How important is customer service to loyalty?
  2. Which customer service activities increase loyalty, and which don’t?
  3. Can companies increase loyalty without raising their customer service operating costs?

Major Results of Customer Effort Research

  1. Loyalty is built, not by delighting customers, but in reducing the customer’s effort – meaning the work they must do to get their problem solved.
  2. Acting deliberately on these customer effort insights drives brand loyalty.

High Effort = Low Customer Loyalty.

When customers have to expend more effort than they expect, they leave.

The CES Assessment Tool was designed for customer experience professionals to identify where customers expend the greatest effort across all service channels.  This tool helps Customer Experience designers answer three core questions:

  1. Where is the greatest opportunity to reduce customer effort for my organization?
  2. What specifically can I improve within each service channel?
  3. What are the practical and proven solutions to address my needs?

Many experience designers have seen success using the Customer Effort Score with the Net Promoter Score (NPS). CES is a great measure of individual customer interactions, while NPS is good at measuring the overall quality of the the customer/brand relationship.

Your customers will thank you with their wallets and loyalty once you understand where to make improvements and intentionally design the digital experience to reduce friction.

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