Your Customer Service May Be Hurting More Than it is Helping

IStock 1327482711 1 1, The DiJulius GroupA study by the Corporate Executive Board Company found that a company’s customer service may do more damage than good if the customer must put in a great deal of effort during the interaction. Annoying customer service is four times more likely to make customers disloyal instead of loyal. The Customer Effort Score (CES) is a way to measure your customer service by asking a customer how difficult it was to place an order, get an issue resolved, get a question answered, or a problem fixed. 

The authors of The Effortless Experience argue, “The key to mitigating disloyalty is reducing customer effort. Companies should focus on making service easier, not more delightful, by reducing the amount of work required of customers to get their issues resolved. This includes avoiding them having to repeat information, having to repeatedly contact the company, switching channels, being transferred, and being treated in a generic manner.”

Part of the solution is eliminating the archaic way customer service representatives are managed. As explained in The Effortless Experience, you can empower “frontline reps to deliver a low-effort experience by using incentive systems that value the quality of the experience over merely speed and efficiency. They’ve moved away from the ‘stopwatch’ and ‘checklist’ culture that’s long permeated the service organization to instead give reps more autonomy and the opportunity to exercise a greater degree of judgment. They understand, in other words, that to get greater control over the quality of the experience delivered, they need to give greater control to the people delivering it.”

Speed of time and speed of service is critical to your customer experience. Everyone in the organization must understand how valuable time is to the customer. Companies like Google, Zappos, and Amazon have absorbed this lesson and shaped your customers’ expectations. The world of the internet has made everything instantaneous, from information to products in people’s hands. Today a friend can recommend a good book, and within 30 seconds it is in your hands on your Kindle. You can order a product and companies may have it at your door the same day. This has also changed customers’ ability to be patient. They now expect not only phone calls and emails returned the same day, within an hour, but also support and resolutions to problematic issues.

Consumers Are Buying Time 

Whether it is due to the hours we put into our careers or the constant demands of rushing from one child’s activities to the next, being time-poor has increased the stress on many adults. No surprise, then, that some of the fastest-growing new businesses are those that sell services instead of products, specifically time-saving services. They say you can’t buy time, but today’s consumers are using their disposable income to do just that. An article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that those who spend money on time-saving services actually feel happier. 

*Related – Audit How You Stack up to the 6 Components of a Customer’s Experience

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There is a wide range of services one can buy to get more time back. They include help with household chores (cleaning, cooking, repairs, and landscaping) and car services so you can be productive on your commute to work. There is also pickup and drop-off for car maintenance or dry cleaning, virtual assistants, online shopping, and dog walkers. You can arrange for personal chefs, restaurant delivery services like Uber Eats, or order healthy prepared food, ready to be cooked, from companies like Blue Apron. There is seemingly no end to what you can outsource today or in the future. We have gone from do-it-yourself to “do-it-for-me” (DIFM). 

“[These consumers] prioritize spending time with their kids or their hobbies over mowing the yard, cleaning the house, or washing their cars,” says Scot Wingo, cofounder of ChannelAdvisor and CEO of Spiffy, an on-demand car-care service. “Importantly, the DIFM consumer is willing to spend money to save time. In the next five years, I think it will feel as archaic as using the Yellow Pages to have to ‘call’ a service provider. Your phone will be the remote control for your life, and you will have a myriad of products and services available to you at your whim in a completely transparent and digital way.”

*Related – How Easy do You Make it for Your Customers to Complain?

The ease of doing business just got easier. Amazon’s Dash button allows consumers to order products like more shampoo or dog food by Wi-Fi, by pressing the button in your home. Even easier, products and groceries now show up at people’s businesses or homes automatically, without someone placing an order. Smart printers automatically order ink when levels get low, and washing machines order detergent after a certain number of cycles. While consumers shop, they can look at an app on their smartphones, which is communicating with their refrigerators and freezers, to see what products they are low on. Smart fridges notify customers when food reaches an expiration date; eventually, it will reorder your Miller Lite because you have only four bottles left. 

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Episode 80 of the CSRevolution Podcast – Becoming a Successful CX (Customer Experience) Coach

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About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.