5 Simple Strategies to Reduce Customer Effort

We already know that the secret for organizations to increase customer loyalty is by improving the customer experience by focusing on the way customers feel. A key factor in doing so is reducing the amount of effort required by customers to receive the service they expect. Reduced customer effort will lead to improved customer experience and increased customer loyalty, and, as a result, to a higher ROI.

How can this be achieved? Take a look at our five strategies.

1. Lead customers to low-effort resolution paths by promoting self-service “stickiness”

Building on customers’ “stickiness” to self-service channels is a very effective way to reduce customer effort, providing the channel’s ability to fully resolve customer issues. This is especially true when customers prefer self-service, but switch to the phone channel after finding unclear information, not finding the answer or feeling unsure of the answer, or experiencing technical failures. 

2. Be proactive and work on preventing the next issue

Metrics such as First Call Resolution (FCR) can be insufficient when trying to resolving the customer’s stated issues. Full resolution only happens when the implicit issues that go beyond the stated needs of the customer are also resolved to reduce both effort and cost. Implicit issues, which might be overlooked during an initial first phone interaction, most often are logically related to the customer’s explicitly stated problem and frequently lead to repeat customer contact when not proactively taken care of, resulting in higher costs for the enterprise and higher customer effort. For example, when a customer purchases a new phone, his stated need is to buy the phone and set it up. Yet, if the provider foresees the implicit need to transfer contacts to the new phone and proactively offers a solution, then a future customer contact is prevented and the customer effort for this phone activation is reduced.

3. Enable agents with “experience engineering” to guide customer interactions  

Customer effort is more about how customers feel during service interactions than what they do in them. To be precise, it is the customer’s interpretation of the interaction, also called the “feel factor,” that contributes most to customer loyalty. The strategy, therefore, should be to actively guide customer interactions by anticipating emotional responses and offering solutions proactively to create a mutually beneficial outcome through the resolution. According to the Customer Contact Council, focusing on outcomes has proven to reduce customer effort by 67 to 82 percent.

4. Enable frontline staff to deliver low-effort experiences

Organizations must create an environment that encourages frontline staff to take control of customer interactions in order to deliver a low-effort customer experience. Beyond agents’ IQ, and supporting their EQ, it is the Control Quotient (CQ) that provides the largest boost to performance and is a vital attribute for assuring low-effort interactions. Agents with high CQ are found to be resilient and have an innate ability to perform under high pressure situations. They are proven to apply constructive criticism and take responsibility for their actions.

5. Proactively solicit and listen to customer feedback on high-effort experiences

The real transition to a customer-oriented service organization happens only when enterprises implement corrective actions and improvements based on feedback they receive from customers following high-effort interactions. Companies can get to the root cause by proactively seeking feedback from frustrated customers who have had a high-effort experience. Speech and text mining technology available today enables quick root cause analysis (RCA) to drive meaningful improvements in customer experience.

By implementing these five strategies, organizations will be able to reduce customer effort during service interactions, improving the way customers feel and thereby increasing customer loyalty and ROI for the enterprise. Which of these strategies do you find most useful to incorporate into your customer effort reduction plan? 

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