New study: Customer convenience is a winning strategy
Driving efficiency gains has long been a top objective of customer service leaders. Traditionally, this has meant reducing issue resolution times and increasing employee productivity while reducing operational costs.
Efficiency remains a key objective for many service leaders. However, successful service leaders increasingly focus on driving efficiency to make it easier for customers to do business with them.
Managing customer effort generates real results
Convenience is subjective. It depends on the personal assessment of each customer. However, the amount of effort a client must put in to get their needs addressed has a direct impact on their convenience assessment. For example, if a customer uses a company website for self-service and is unsuccessful, and then uses live chat where the agent also can’t assist them, they are then forced to call the contact center and explain the issue for a third time. This interaction can be classified as “high effort,” and hence inconvenient for the customer.
Findings from the Aberdeen Group’s February 2020 study, “The return on managing customer convenience in modern service programs, shows that firms with dedicated programs to minimize customer effort achieve far superior annual performance improvements, compared to service organizations without such programs.
Our study found that firms with a formal program to manage customer effort across all channels enjoy a 3.9X greater annual increase in customer satisfaction rates, compared to those without it (All Others).
Besides improving customer satisfaction at a rapid pace, firms monitoring and managing service activities, with an eye to minimize client effort, decrease customer effort scores by 16.8X more than All Others. When combined, improvement across these two key performance indicators shows that minimizing effort to ensure customer convenience ultimately leads to happy clients.
It’s not surprising that monitoring customer effort is becoming a priority for many forward-thinking service leaders.
Empowering employees creates happy customers
One of the most common mistakes many service organizations make, when managing customer experience programs, is overlooking the impact employees have on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Happy employees create happy customers. Employee satisfaction is often intertwined with a company’s ability to empower employees with the tools and information they need to do their jobs.
When employees are empowered, they can drive the efficiency gains that have long been top-of-mind for service leaders. Specifically, findings from our study reveal that firms with a formal program to deliver effortless service experiences reduce average handle times by 2.3X more than All Others. They also report a 13.0% annual decrease in customer service costs, compared to a 3.7% decrease for the All Others category.
To put cost reduction improvements into perspective, let’s assume a service organization incurs $15 million in annual customer service costs. Adopting a formal program to minimize customer effort and taking the related steps to accomplish this goal would help this firm trim nearly $1.4 million more in service costs each year, compared to the same firm without such a program.
Customer convenience yields better customer experiences
It’s harder for companies in many industries to compete based on price, products, or services alone. Competitors can grab market share by lowering prices or launching new products and services. However, it’s much harder for competitors to replicate the advantage that comes from minimizing the effort required for customers to get their needs met across all channels.
To learn how service leaders across various industries are using best practices to enable customer convenience and become more customer-centric watch this webinar: The secret sauce helping CX leaders create loyal clients: convenience.
You can also read a summary of the webinar here.