By: Christy Green On: June 30, 2016 In: Contact Center Comments: 0

For years we’ve been reading about the necessity of delighting our customers. The definition of delight is “to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment; to please highly.” I’d say creating the state of delight is a high bar, and often unachievable because delight is subjective.

For example, if you’re on a cross country flight and in an effort to delight you the airline provides you with unlimited free cocktails. You might think that’s the epitome of delight, however the guy sitting next to you may not agree. A family traveling with small children on that same flight might find continuous playing of the movie Kung Fu Panda delightful, but probably none of the business passengers would.

So delight is indeed subjective, and it’s also fleeting. More importantly, trying to delight customers is unlikely to achieve the ultimate goal of creating customer loyalty.

What customers really want and what has the greatest impact on customer experience and creating loyalty, is to be able to easily interact with your business at all points in the customer journey. According to the book Effortless Experience, “loyalty is a function of how well companies deliver on their basic promises. Beyond delivering at this basic level, a customer’s loyalty is no more likely to increase the more you exceed expectations.”

Think about it, when you need to do some sort of transaction with a company, whether it’s buying something, requesting help or scheduling service, what matters most to you? Most people will agree that all they really want is to be able to do what they need to do and get on with their life. The easier it is, the better the experience.

Perhaps you can relate to this experience: I recently wanted to change my internet/cable service, and in order to do that, I had to suffer through the following:

  • Searched the company website, couldn’t find what I wanted, so I had to call
  • It was after hours (after 7:00 pm on a weeknight was “after hours”)
  • I tried again the next day, waded through an extensive IVR to be told the hold time was estimated at 10 minutes
  • I did not want to hold for 10 minutes, so found the chat option and decided to give chat a try, thinking that would be faster
  • The chat agent did answer in less than 10 minutes, but each response took 30 plus seconds, which seems like an eternity when you’re waiting
  • I ended up having to call back and wait on hold to speak to an agent, who was pleasant enough and ultimately did solve my problem
  • I suppose in an attempt to “delight me” the agent offered a special of three free months of premium channels

Even though I ultimately got what I wanted, and they offered me something “enticing” (which I did not want), there was nothing about this interaction that created loyalty. In fact, it sparked disloyalty in me.

Why? Theoretically, they did all the right things. The agent was polite and helpful, they offered current technology, an easy to remember toll free number, an IVR to more expeditiously route my call, a web site so I could attempt to self-serve, and chat so I had another channel available.

But they missed the point entirely. Even though they had implemented plenty of technology, it wasn’t deployed well. Instead of simplifying the transaction, I spent more than an hour of my life trying to get what I needed.

Here are four tips to make the customer experience easier for your customers:

  1. Keep your IVR simple. Callers detest long menus full of subcategories. They stop listening, then take the exact action you’re trying to deflect – they press 0 in a desperate attempt to get help.
  2. Equip your website with a searchable knowledge base. Avoid static FAQs, avoid Google powered searches.
  3. If you’re going to provide alternate channels such as chat, have a strategy – offer it at the appropriate times, make sure it’s properly staffed, equip agents with standard text so responses are quicker and consistent.
  4. Find out how hard it is to be your customer. Look for answers on your website, call your contact center, email them and chat and see what kind of response you get.

 

If you want to improve customer experience and increase customer loyalty, focus on strategies to help minimize customer effort.

We specialize in helping contact centers, just like yours, make the customer experience easier for their customers. To find out more, please email us or leave a comment below.