Are You Making Your Customers Work Too Hard?

Over a year ago, The Harvard Business Review published an article titled “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers” (caution – pdf, subscription required). In this article, the authors make the observation that improving service beyond a certain point does not necessarily increase customer loyalty and retention. The authors continue to state:

“Reps should focus on reducing the effort customers must make. Doing so increases the likelihood that they will return to the company, increase the amount they spend there, and speak positively (and not negatively) about it—in other words, that they’ll become more loyal.”

To meet customers’ expectations, reps should anticipate and head off the need for follow-up calls, address the emotional side of interactions, minimize the need for customers to switch service channels, listen to and learn from disgruntled customers, and focus on problem solving, not speed.”

The Corporate Executive Board has made the article available, together with an evaluation tool, allowing organizations to assess their own performance on various customer effort criteria. But, the tool evaluates the systems and processes and does not provide

However, thinking about the article, we can quickly realize that there are several ways in which customer support organizations can make their customers work too hard:

  1. Repetitive requests for information, of for the customer to recreate the problem
  2. Multiple attempts at fixing the problem
  3. Insufficient and infrequent feedback to the customers requiring them to follow up

Taking the two into account, it is easy to see the need for an “effort index” that will measure the ongoing effort customer support requires of customers in order to resolve cases. Seems like a topic for a future post.

Have you implemented CES measurement? Are you aware of anybody who does? What’s your impression with it? Do you see the need for a more detailed effort index bases on enterprise support criteria?

One response to “Are You Making Your Customers Work Too Hard?

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