We in the contact center are traditionally committed to delighting our customers. Anything we can do to go above and beyond the needs of our customers to connect them more closely with our organization is the Holy Grail. Net Promoter scores are often used to measure how well a contact center experience performed in creating a new customer advocate willing to promote your brand to their friends and your potential customers.

We may be wasting a lot of time and energy with this vision. The bad news is that an over-the-top “delightful” contact center experience has far less positive influence over our customers than we would like. The good news is that the basic blocking and tackling of the contact center: getting the right information to the customer quickly and easily is even more influential in the building of good relationships with our customers than we ever could have hoped.

Research from the Corporate Executive Board shows us that the most important aspect of a customer interaction is how easy it seemed to the customers. A Harvard Business School case study on the concept of a Customer Effort Score highlights this important point. The power of this idea comes out in the predictive power of different statistics. While a general customer satisfaction rating will correlate pretty well with the future value of a customer and Net Promoter does an even better job the single most valuable predictor of future customer behavior is the Customer Effort Score:

As the above graph details, easy interactions are far better predictors of increased spend or repurchase behaviors than either a net promoter score or an overall customer satisfaction rating. The study goes on to show how people when surveyed are not always the most reliable in predicting how they will behave in the future, particularly positive behavior. When a customer has a bad experience, or when it is hard for a customer to get information they want, the impact is significant. When you ask a customer if their very positive experience will influence their future behavior the results are generally disappointing.

What does this mean? There are a few simple things your organization can do to take full advantage of this insight:

  • Know what information your customers want when they reach out to you and make that information easiest to find
  • Think about usability to make it easy to navigate through any interaction channel your customers may use
  • Be consistent across different channels so your customers don’t have to learn three or more different ways to work with your company
  • Leverage what you know about your customers to provide a personalized experience that anticipates their needs even as they move between interaction channels

What’s an organization to do? For some practical tips on how to take advantage of this insight and to make it easy to do business with your company join us April 3rd for our webinar “Make it Easy – Customer Effort in a MultiChannel World”.