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Should you make things easy for customers?by
As a counter-argument to Sampson Lee's recent piece suggesting that businesses shouldn't aspire to effortless CX, Graham Hill makes the case for making things as easy as possible for customers.
This short post was stimulated by Sampson Lee's article on 'Why experts are wrong to encourage effortless customer experience'. The article is ... quite simply, misguided.
In a nutshell...
Customer come to us for help getting their jobs done. We should make things as easy as possible for customers. But no easier.
Customers interact with companies to get access to resources to help them get their jobs done. We should make things as easy as possible for customers, so that they can get their desired outcomes faster, easier and better.
We can do this in a number of ways.
Firstly, we can design services purposefully to help customers get their jobs done. Innovation approaches such as Tony Ulwick's 'Outcome Driven Innovation' provide a tried and tested framework, techniques and tools to innovate services around customers' desired outcomes. And ODI has a proven 80% success rate, an enormous improvement over the 80% failure rate that most innovation approaches have.
Secondly, we can wrap data around interactions to help customers. As Ronny Schueritz and Barb Wixom show in their MIT CISR report 'Creating Competitive Products with Analytics', companies can use their 4As: Anticipate - Advise - Adapt - Act framework to identify the best opportunities to wrap data around interactions, provide decision support tools and automate parts of interactions.
And finally, we can adopt a 'decision engineering' approach that identifies the decisions within interactions, how the decisions are made and how they flow. Dan Saffer's book 'Micro-interactions: Designing with Details' provides a powerful toolkit to identify the triggers, rules, feedback, and loops and modes that allow you to engineer better decisions.
That doesn't mean we should always make things as easy as possible. Some interactions require decisions to be made that are complicated and important, and have a significant impact on the future. As Anne van Lieren et al suggest in a paper on 'Rational Overrides: Influence Behaviour Beyond Nudging', these interactions benefit from being made a little slower and harder. It produces a better decision that customers are more satisfied with.
Once you have made things as easy as possible for customers, you should measure, monitor and manage the journey so that it continuously improves over time. That doesn't just mean measuring a balanced scorecard of corporate measures such as CES, CSAT and NPS, it also means measuring customer measures related to getting their jobs done.
- Understand the jobs customers are trying to do, their desired outcomes and the journeys they undertake to achieve them.
- Help customers get their jobs done faster, easier and better. Sometimes making things better may mean making them slower and harder.
- Measure, monitor and manager performance throughout the journey, from your and customers' perspectives.
What do you think? Should you make things easier for customers?
- For further details of Tony Ulwick's 'Outcome Driven Innovation' approach to innovation, see his free eBook and audiobook... 'Jobs to be Done: From Theory to Practice'. I was trained in ODI, (by Tony), in 2009. I have used it on every consulting assignment since then, to great success.
- For further details about data wrapping see Ronny Schueritz and Barb Wixom's MIT CISR report... 'Creating Competitive Products with Analytics' (free membership required).
- For further details of Dan Saffer's approach to decision engineering see... 'Micro-interactions: Designing with Details'.
Graham Hill has been a Management Consultant, Interim and Director for over 30 blue-chip companies, in 15 different countries, over the past 30 years. Most of his work has involved building complex service systems, directing their implementation and managing the resulting organisational transformation. He is an acknowledged SME in customer...