While some consumers believe technology is the answer to making life easier and more efficient, others find it incredibly frustrating and inconvenient when problems arise or when their expectations are not effectively met.
Brands and manufacturers continue to spend a massive amount of time, money and resources to develop new products and services that are increasingly more complex in terms of their technology and their interconnectivity with other devices, but are they considering a customer-first approach in their go-to-market strategy?
Today, thinking about customer effort needs to be a top priority to successfully launch a new technology product and achieve mainstream adoption.
If technology is too complex and confusing for the average person to set up and use regularly, it’s highly unlikely that they will trust the company enough to make another purchase in the future. In fact, 87% of consumers will return a tech product within in a week if it’s too difficult to set up and install, regardless of the price.
High customer effort directly impacts the bottom line in terms of retention, loyalty and advocacy, which means technology brands must leverage novel support strategies to reduce customer effort, improve the overall customer experience, and drive a meaningful engagement with customers.
Focus on the entire customer journey, not just a few touchpoints
The first step to reducing customer effort for technology companies is to interact with and listen to their consumers at every stage of the customer journey – from research and purchase to setup, installation, upgrades and troubleshooting – to identify pain points and minimise customer effort.
Our recent survey reveals 77% of consumers think initial setup and installation, troubleshooting with tech support and upgrading require the most of their personal time and effort.
Let that sink in for a moment. While brands exert a lot of resources to make the pre-purchase and purchase stages of the customer journey as streamlined as possible, a major part of the post-purchase experience remains difficult for the average consumer. This is a red flag for technology brands when it comes to retaining customers, building loyalty and driving revenue.
Meet the customer where they are
Consumer preferences for interacting with brands continue to evolve in response to our increasingly connected digital world. Changing customer expectations and communication preferences means technology brands must offer personalised support strategies across multiple channels – maintaining a single customer context but tailoring interactions to the specifics of each channel – to meet the diverse needs of their consumers.
An emerging DIY generation is pushing for more self-service options that let them navigate support options on their own without professional, live assistance. In fact, 50% of connected consumers prefer a self-service approach to addressing product issues post-purchase. On the other hand, one in three say they want both the flexibility of self-service and access to a live customer support representative when necessary.
But when thinking omnichannel, it is important for brands to be able to maintain a single customer context across channels, keeping track of previous customer interactions, whether unassisted via self-support or assisted with live support. This will allow customers to resolve issues much faster and with less frustration, because they won’t have to keep repeating the same information as they escalate or change channels.
Whether it’s phone, email, chat, social media or face-to-face interactions in-store, technology brands need to value their customers’ time and implement effective, personalised support options on each channel and in every touchpoint of the customer journey to engage with consumers where they are and minimise the time and effort required from their customers.
Leverage data to provide proactive support
One in three consumers say that more proactive customer service and support solutions with self-diagnosing or suggested fixes would significantly improve their experience. With this in mind, technology companies should be utilising user and device data combined with contextual insights from previous interactions with the brand’s product or tech support teams to provide informed guidance and create a more positive, effortless customer experience.
By understanding exactly where customers are having problems or how they want to use a product, brands can better direct them to a guided self-support solution or connect them with a live representative that has access to the right information to resolve the issue quickly and with minimal frustration.
Leveraging user and device data can help reduce customer effort in the long-term as well. When similar problems occur with a product, tech support teams can refer to past interactions and follow the same path to solution.
When proactive onboarding support solutions are offered in the early stages of setting up a new technology product, consumers are more likely to have a seamless, positive brand experience.
The bottom line
As brands and manufacturers continue developing new technology products, they must consider the entire customer journey, monitor support interactions across channels, and implement proactive personalised support strategies to reduce customer effort and increase overall satisfaction.
Customer effort has a direct impact on the brand experience and future revenue. By developing support strategies that proactively impact the customer journey from the outset, brands can foster a connection with the consumer and make it easier for the customer to interact with your brand. Positive interactions are key to boosting brand loyalty, limiting product returns and increasing revenue.