Reduce effort > Giving refunds

customer-compliantsWhat do you do with an unhappy customer? Refunds are the easy way out. They don’t fix the problem. They just put a band-aid on the situation, without addressing the underlying problem that led your busy customer to take time to call you.

But don’t take my word for it. A report from Beyond Philosophy entitled The Customer Complaints X-Ray uses a survey of 1015 respondents in Europe and the USA to study which made more of a difference in loyalty – the outcome of the complaint, or the way it was handled. (The full report isn’t available without joining, but you can get a summary on their website.) What did they find?

The first question is: what drives a customer’s likelihood to continue doing business with you? Is it the outcome (getting a refund, resolving the problem, etc.) or the way the complaint is handled? Read more

“A dirty car hurts you more than a clean car helps you.”

PizzaI love this quote from Mark Van Wagenen, Director of Global Customer Experience at Hertz. My friend and client Lori introduced it to me, and it perfectly encapsulates one of the problems we have in customer experience: Are you trying to make your customers love you more or to hate you less?

It’s not a simple question, and you’re certainly trying to do some of each. But how you focus on improving things for detractors is different from building customers who love you.

I hear this confusion quite often in health care. Health care has amazing stories about saving peoples’ lives, and they don’t understand why that’s not sufficient to get their patients to love them. But it’s really hard to love an organization that gives you five redundant forms, and make you wait for a half-hour past your appointment.  People won’t love you until they stop hating you.

You need to make it easy on customers to stop the bleeding. That’s the impetus behind the customer effort score. It truly matters to preventing customers from leaving you. But it’s not how you make them love you. That’s where the kindness, the listening, and the empathy kick in. You need both. But each serves a different role.

When I’m trying to explain something complex, I often find a pizza metaphor helps. Read more


Customer Effort Score 2 – Is it easy?

Loyalty impact of support callsEffort is the bane of your customer experience. Or, as I like to say, “Thinking is bad.” But is customer effort the right measurement to use?

First, an overview. The CEB created the Customer Effort Score (CES) as a transactional measurement. You can see my early post here. Its original phrasing was “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?” and a lot of blogs still point to this confusing phrase. Luckily, the CEB reworded it to “The company made it easy for me to handle my issue” in the CES 2.0.

Unfortunately, they haven’t taken the next step to call it the Customer Easy Score, which is much more fun to say. Read more

Customer Effort Score: How Hard is it to be Your Customer?

How much effort is your customer experience?Are you familiar with the Customer Effort Score (CES)?  It is rapidly gaining converts as a way to measure the transactions that make up your customer experience.

(Editor’s note: More details on the CES 2.0 can be found here.)

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, measures your overall customer experience.  But it doesn’t show where to focus to improve your results.  Imagine telling your store manager, B2B sales team, or director of your call center only that “Your NPS scores are low. Fix them!”  Where do they begin?

Transactional measurements show what segments of your experience impact your customer loyalty. Some companies have tried to use NPS to measure transactions, but it was never designed for this.  Asking “Would you recommend your call center rep?” doesn’t work, as most customers have no desire to call your call center in the first place.  Similarly, “Would you recommend [Company] website”  causes confusion – are your customers recommending the company behind the website, the design, the functionality, or all three?  This is where the Customer Effort Score shines.

When customers have to expend more effort than they expect, they leave.  High effort equals low customer loyalty.  The CES helps you monitor this.

Read more