Have you ever tried to buy something, but found the process so complicated that you just gave up?
The line at the store was too long, you had to send a copy of three different forms of identification, you had to open an account, verify your email, do a bunch of ‘games’ to prove you’re a human, and log in to your new account before you could complete your purchase – whatever it was, it was too complicated and you gave up.
We’re the instant generation, and expect things to be quick and easy. If they aren’t, we’ll happily switch to someplace else where they are.
In the world of customer service, there is something called CES: Customer Effort Score. The goal is to provide an effortless customer experience, in order to boost customer satisfaction and retention.
If you make the process of doing business with you as effortless as possible, customers are far more likely to remain loyal. Effort is actually the biggest factor in loyalty, according to Gartner (a big research organisation).
Fun statistic: 96% of customers who experience a high-effort interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.
So, do your customers have to invest a lot of effort in your processes, or is it all smooth and easy?
Examples of improving the customer effort score:
There is a local library where I live, that is open from 10 to 12 every Tuesday morning. I went twice, and never went back. It was just too hard to remember to go at those hours, and if I missed it I’d have to wait another whole week until the next session.
Lesson: Be as flexible as you can with regards to opening hours. Try to be there when they want you, rather than making them fit your schedule. I mean, if you needed to buy something and there was one store with a huge selection that was closed, and another smaller one that was open, which would you go to?
When I set up a Google Analytics account, I sent in a manual guiding the business to the right reports, helping them access the information they want themselves. To make it as simple as possible, I incorporated screenshots with arrows and exact instructions of what to click to find the report they want – as well as explanations of how to use the information they are seeing.
Explain the buying process
Don’t just explain what your product is. When someone is interesting, end your description/pitch by asking ‘would you like to place your order now’, or ‘when would you like it to be ready for’. Tell them the next step!
If your offer is more complicated (such as building a website), ensure they know the process and are aware of what you’ll be asking of them. If you can create a clear vision of how it will all work, they’ll be more likely to go with you than with someone who leaves it all as a fog (I’ll let you know when I need something from you…).
When I cold-call a potential client, I make sure NOT to end with ‘does this sound like something you’d be interested in’ but instead to end with ‘I’d love to book a meeting with you so I can explain more about how I can help your business grow’
Asking for referrals
Rather than mentioning to clients ‘if you know anyone who may be interested, please tell them about me’, you can give them a pre-written paragraph to forward on (or a tweet etc if you’re on social media)
Guide your customers through the process of anything you want them to do, making it as easy as you can for them to do business with you. If you want an example for your specific business, please reply with some details – I’m happy to help!