Customer Loyalty: Making it Easy
“Stop trying to delight your customers” is the controversial claim emanating from research by the Customer Contact Council published in August’s Harvard Business Review. For years, executives have exasperated over the extent of the link between customer satisfaction and loyalty. Decision-makers have often leant on the simplest of assumptions that to delight your customers now is to give yourself the best possible chance of securing their loyalty in the future.
Not so, say Dixon and the co-authors of the HBR Paper. They call instead for the basics; casting aside the so-called ‘bells and whistles’ typified by costly and seemingly ineffective attempts to exceed expectations. Surprising? Not entirely. Fizzback’s industry experience in the past 6 years paints a remarkably similar picture of the customer loyalty spectrum – that the battle can be won with the basics.
Across industries and touchpoints, we see ‘above and beyond’ culture lagging behind the agent’s basic product knowledge in the race towards customer loyalty. Fizzback’s blue chip retail clients have seen first-hand that the strongest drivers of increased retention come with the rudiments, heightened with attempts to ensure a firm’s interactions with its customers are as simple as they can be.
Fizzback’s belief in asking open ended questions, automatically interpreted by its Natural Language Processing system, has facilitated this discovery. As highlighted below, the most frequent cross-client customer suggestions for an improved retail experience are anchored on the concept of effort. This is reflected in the CCC research with the proposal of the Customer Effort Score (CES) metric. Fizzback’s industry experience certainly adds credence to the transactional minimalism the new metric promotes.
The message is simple, but the ramifications are significant: get those basics right and make your customer’s interactions with your company as effortless as possible. You will soon generate greater customer loyalty than you would attempting to delight each one to walk through the door; and in the long run you’ll delight your shareholders.