Customer Effort - the original Harvard Business Review article

Stop Trying to delight your customers - first published in 2010, this article kicked off discussion about the proposition that in many sectors to really win customer loyalty you can forget the bells and whistles and just solve the customer's problem.  
Conventional wisdom suggests that to increase customer loyalty we must 'delight' customers.  This approach has led to many popular measures such as Net Promoter Scores.  This article however, builds off a large-scale study of contact centre and self-service interactions, where "what customers want (but rarely get)" is just as good a solution to the issue that led them to make contact in the first place.  
The article introduces key ideas - such as 'trying too hard' or 'making it easy' which have become seminal and will be known to Planning Forum members from presentations at the 2013 conference and our 2013 Best Practice Guide. Take a look at the articles shown in the links below.
Common obstacles referenced from the research include these shocking statistics:  56% of customers report having to re-explain an issue, 57% report having to switch from the web to the phone, 59% report having to expend moderate to high effort in resolving an issue, 62% report having to repeatedly contact the company to resolve an issue.  
The article also shares some seminal statistics on the Bad Service Ripple Effect - 25% of customers are likely to say something positive about their customer service experience, 65% are likely to speak negatively, 23% of customers who had a positive service interaction to 10 or more people about it, 48% of customers who had negative experiences told 10 or more others.  
Top 5 tips for making it easy
1.       Don’t just resolve the current issue - head off the next one
2.       Arm reps to address the emotional side of customer interactions
3.       Minimise channel switching by increasing self-service channel 'stickiness'
4.       Use feedback from disgruntled or struggling customers to reduce customer effort
5.       Empower the frontline to deliver a low-effort experience.
The article then sets out how to measure a customer effort score.
The research covered more than 75,000 customers over a 3 year period about their service interactions in North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  
Take a look at the full article on call centre clinic - if you don’t have your own HBR subscription:
Article first published July-August 2010 in the Harvard Business Review

Take a look at these articles, videos and links
BT Retail Awards Case Study 2013: Making it easy for customers
Customer Effort – A global metric to drive customer loyalty
Data, Analytics & Insight
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