Many—if not all—brands sink or swim on how loyal and satisfied their customers are. For years, marketers thought the path to customer loyalty was paved with delight and poured their resources into creating unique customer experiences. But as customer expectations have changed and the world has become keener on instant gratification, customers’ motivations and loyalties have changed, too. As a result, a new driving principle for customer loyalty has emerged: the effortless experience.
According to studies conducted by Corporate Executive Board Global (now part of Gartner), the effort expended by customers influences their perception of service much more than the creation of unique experiences at isolated customer touchpoints. In other words, when your customers don’t have to put much effort into interacting with you and can sit back and have everything done for them, they will keep coming back.
Brands should prioritize the following tasks on their journey to effortlessness:
Anticipate Issues Before They Occur
Proactivity is key for quality customer service. Organizations must empower sales teams and customer service representatives to anticipate needs and take opportunities to educate customers. By being upfront about products, promotions and policies and going beyond just answering a customer’s questions to solving an issue completely, customers feel that the brand is on their side and wants them to be informed, increasing loyalty and reducing the number of calls to support teams.
Pinpoint Touchpoints That Cause Friction
Long wait times, confusing FAQ pages and policy barriers have become common in many brands’ service streams, leading to frustrated customers. Eliminating these and equipping call center representatives with thorough information lets them focus on ensuring issues are resolved at the first touchpoint, with as little required from the customer as possible.
Align Your Communication Channels
As brands offer more ways for customers to contact them, they must provide a seamless, consistent experience to ensure customers are able to solve problems no matter which channel they use, especially if they use more than one. Inconsistent experiences and capabilities will create high-effort interactions that drive customers away.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
With so many tools available to engage customers, brands must be strategic to ensure they are investing in the right solution for their needs. Whatever they choose, they must provide everyone—from customer-facing sales associates to call center representatives—with information on customer behavior that allows them to deliver the best service possible, quickly and easily. A longtime customer can bail in a second if they can’t be helped, despite giving the company business for many years.
By focusing on giving customers low-effort experiences, brands will be able to provide a more useful and frictionless customer experience. The key point to realize is that while brands might not make customers “happy,” they will leave them satisfied—and ultimately keep them coming back for more.