In the most recent online issue of Marketing Week, a leading UK magazine for marketing news, opinion and information, Lucy Handley, in her article “Is Effort the New Loyalty?”, highlights the work underway at BT Global Services in measuring customer effort.
BT’s Dr. Nicola Millard is looking at the extent to which consumers have to work doing business with a company and the impact that effort has on the customer experience and brand loyalty.
Hanley’s article reflects the customer service reality that we see emerging across the globe. Customers are literally fleeing from high-effort experiences and moving toward companies that will provide them with a low-effort experience. As Dr. Millard suggests in her comments, this effort is a function of both practical and emotional elements. When a customer is angry, frustrated, confused or lost, they translate those negative emotions into effort, which in turn moves them away from loyalty.
We have found through our engagements across Europe and the United States that front-line, customer interaction employees must be equipped and supported to intentionally and proactively create low-effort experiences for customers through the employees’ behaviors, responses and technical and product expertise. That can only happen when the customer interaction employees have the skills and tools to meet and address both the customer’s practical and emotional needs in a way that specifically targets the customer’s specific situation. In addition, the organization’s systems and processes must be aligned completely with the creation of the low-effort customer experience.
As we have witnessed first-hand, when all of these elements are in place, Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other loyalty metrics improve dramatically, even in areas that traditionally lag.