Increasing customer loyalty and decreasing their efforts it no rocket science. In fact, a lot of issues are already known, a lot of software applications and databases have already been installed, most reps have been trained properly and internal processes and procedures have been defined. And yet customers are unsatisfied and disloyal. So, how do you stop that? You could try to analyze the their frustrations. Customers can tell you what's wrong. Then define new, low effort, customer service processes and get some easy to use software which makes it easy for your organization to properly handle a call, integrally present relevant customer information, start up workflows in which customer information can be edited.
Get the right data, call your unhappy customers. Many companies gauge internal service performance by calling customers after a service event. Most of the time the average score is ok and the company should make some small improvements, to increase that score a bit. In order to make some real improvements, companies should address unhappy customers and find out why they appointed a low score. Use their feedback to really improve the customer effort score (CES).
Analyze your internal metrics. Maybe it is time for a different point of view in measuring the productivity of customer service events. Incentive systems that value speed over quality may be the biggest barrier while reducing customer effort. Put the regular KPI's in an other perspective and empower the front line to deliver a low-effort experience. An Australian telecommunications provider eliminated all productivity metrics. Though average handling time did slightly increase, the total number of repeat calls fell by 58%. The company saved a lot of money.
The South African Nedbank has even made low customer effort the cornerstone of their value proposition and branding. It launches the AskOnce promise, which guarantees you that the CSR who picks up the phone, will own the customer's issue from start to finish.
This is the last post of a series of blogs about the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty, a research project form the Customer Contact Council which has been published in the Harvard Business Review, edition july/august 2010.