Thursday, September 2, 2010

Make it easy, make it no effort.

During the service interaction, customer service companies only can create loyal customers by helping them solving their problems quickly and easily. Just make it easy for customers to do business with you and when they do have questions or complaints, serve them appropriately. How do you do that? By removing obstacles and reduce the effort a customer has to do to solve a problem.

The research of the Customer Contact Council indicates that customers do not like it to put a lot of effort in the service interaction. These obstacles should be removed. In fact, these obstacles are already known in most service organizations. In the eyes of customers obstacles means, having to contact the company several times before a problem is being solved. Obstacles or effort, also mean, being transferred to another service rep and having to repeat the information or switch from one channel to another, to get an issue solved.
Over half the customers surveyed reported such difficulties and efforts. And to be honest, it is not nice to search for answers on a website, not finding them and calling the service department, where someone puts you through to another agent and telling the story again.

Companies can reduce these efforts by using a new metric, the Customer Effort Score (CES). The CES score measures how much effort a customer has to get a problem solved. CES can easily be used next to other operational metrics such as repeat calls.

The CES score measures very low effort (scale 1) to very high effort (scale 5). It is a powerful  tool and it outperforms the customer satisfaction score (CSAT) on customer loyalty, defined as customers' intention to keep doing business, increase the money spent and spread positive word of mouth.

This post is part of a series of blogs about the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. Which is a research project form the Customer Contact Council and has been published in the Harvard Business Review, edition july/august 2010

Previous post: Cut the crap and solve customers problems
Next post: Customer Effort Score 

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