Easy life customers

Should you make things easy for customers?


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. 

19th Aug 2021

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.

More details...

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.

making things easy for customers

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.

Key takeaways...

  1. Understand the jobs customers are trying to do, their desired outcomes and the journeys they undertake to achieve them.
  2. Help customers get their jobs done faster, easier and better. Sometimes making things better may mean making them slower and harder.
  3. Measure, monitor and manager performance throughout the journey, from your and customers' perspectives.

What do you think? Should you make things easier for customers?



Replies (5)

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By EileenJCallaham
31st Aug 2021 17:22

I have read Sampson Lee's articles and the point he appears to be making is that a company such as ikea creates friction... having to build the furniture... because it means that it can keep costs down. I hope I have undestood that correctly, Sampson. So ikea... for instance.... is providing cheap goods as a trade off for readymade furniture. The same as same as costco... for instance... providing cheaper goods in an ugly building which is essentially a chaotic warehouse. But i don't think these are cases in point so that all businesses should create friction and make things harder for customers. if ikea could sell readymade furniture for the same price they would be even more successful. So it is not about wanting to create difficulty for the customer maybe, but that it is out of necessity as a business model.

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Sampson Lee, founder of Global CEM and creator of PIG Strategy
By Sampson Lee
01st Sep 2021 03:13

Hi Graham, thanks for your article. As I replied to you in another blog post, first of all, the link to my article “Why experts are wrong to encourage effortless customer experience” does not work. Frankly speaking, I don't think our views differ much. May I invite you and the readers of this post to read “Stop Trying to Eliminate Customer Effort” https://customerthink.com/stop-trying-to-eliminate-customer-effort/

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Replying to Sampson Lee:
By Neil Davey
01st Sep 2021 08:30

Hi Sampson, I've corrected the link in the story. My bad - I added the link to Graham's original piece and clearly made a hash of it!

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Replying to Neil Davey:
Sampson Lee, founder of Global CEM and creator of PIG Strategy
By Sampson Lee
01st Sep 2021 08:49

Thank you, Neil.

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Sampson Lee, founder of Global CEM and creator of PIG Strategy
By Sampson Lee
04th Oct 2021 03:23

Hi Eileen, not every customer pain point/effort/friction is good. Most customer pain points are bad or unnecessary and have to be reduced or eliminated. There are basically five types of pain:

1) Inspirational Pain: by solving it, you can create innovative solution, product or business model.
2) Unnecessary Pain: there is little or no value generated for customers; customers suffer for nothing.
3) Good Pain: by allowing it, your branded pleasure can be further enhanced.
4) Bad Pain: when the good pain falls to a level deemed unacceptable by your target customers, it becomes a bad pain.
5) De-Branded Pain: the attribute (pain) is supposed to be the pleasure peak because it reflects your brand promise.

To conclude, only the Good Pain should be allowed. For the remainder, you should either solve, minimize, or eliminate, and spend different level of resource addressing them.

For more details, please read chapter 4 of my book “PIG Strategy” (142 pages simplified version): https://globalcem.org/pig-strategy. This is a free download; no registration is required.

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