In a survey of 97,000 consumers who purchased products or services from over 400 companies around the world the researchers found that the vast majority of customers, notably 96%, who had high-effort experiences reported being disloyal. This compared to only 9% of customers with a low-effort experience.
They identified the key sources of effort as:
- The need to contact a company more than once.
- Being treated like a number. In other words generic service.
- Having to repeat information.
- Having to switch channels when trying to find information or resolve a problem.
- And the customer’s perception that it takes additional effort to resolve an issue.
By channel switching they are referring to situations where a customer initially attempts to resolve an issue through self-service, for example via the company website, only to have to also pick up the phone and call. Most customers who channel switch do so because they become confused or lose confidence.
On average nearly 58 per cent of a company’s inbound call volume comes from customers who first were on the company’s website but for some reason or other, still ended up calling the company’s contact centre.
Over a third of customers who are on the phone with a company’s service reps at any one moment are also on the company’s website at the same time.
The researchers say that customers are best served by being directed to the lowest effort channel and options to resolve their issue, even if that channel would not have been their first choice.
The vast majority of companies simply leave it up to the customer to choose their own adventure, believing that customers prefer more choice over a low effort experience.
According to their research, choice is not nearly as powerful as we might have expected. Instead, guiding customers to the pathway that will require the least amount of effort is much more likely to mitigate disloyalty and create a better experience.
Repeat contacts are, by an order of magnitude, the single biggest driver of customer effort. Having to call a company back because an issue wasn’t fully resolved is costing companies heaps.
Senior Executives typically ask, “Why aren’t we resolving issues the first time customers contact us?”
The question they should be asking is, “What causes our customers to have to call us back?”
Source: The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick Delisi. More from this amazing book next month.