What is Customer Effort and how to analyze it in your organization?

Webster’s Dictionary defines effort as “strenuous physical or mental exertion”. If you’ve ever had to call a business multiple times to resolve an issue or wasted precious time being hopelessly lost in a confusing automated phone menu, then you can relate to this strenuous mental exertion. The amount of effort customers experience when interacting with a business directly impacts their relationship. If your organization is losing customers despite having a superior product or service, then customer effort may be the culprit. Harvard Business Review takes it a step further stating that “the #1 most important factor in customer loyalty is the reduction of customer effort.”

customer experience analytics solution provides customer insights

Recent research from Gartner further supports the substantial impact that customer effort has on bottom-line results:

  • Customers are four times more likely to become disloyal after a difficult customer experience
  • 88% of customers are more likely to spend more with a brand after a low effort experience
  • 94% of customers are more likely to repurchase from a brand after a low effort experience

Measuring Customer Effort

There are three common types of feedback used to measure customer experience:

Direct Feedback on Customer Effort

Direct feedback is what customers say about you when you ask them. This information is obtained through surveys. Most online transactions are accompanied by a short survey asking the customer to rate the experience. The same is true for phone calls to customer support organizations as well in-person interactions. Response rates for surveys are notoriously low, and they tend to be biased toward dissatisfied customers who are motivated to complain about bad service. While direct feedback is great, it’s represents only a small portion of customers and it can be more misleading and enlightening.

Indirect Feedback on Customer Effort

Indirect feedback is what customers say about you to others. Companies glean this feedback from the review sections of websites, on social media, and in chats. The expectation is that people will be honest when rating your product/service for others. However, it may be difficult and time-consuming to organize and interpret this feedback into useful data that can be analyzed.

Behavioral Feedback on Customer Effort

Behavioral feedback is inferred from what customers actually do, not what they say. This data is obtained by tracking customer journeys through the various channels they use to interact with your company. A lot can be inferred about customer effort from the analysis of:

  • Number of Channels Visited by the Customer
  • Duration in the Channel
  • Reason Channel is Used
  • How Often Channel is Used
  • Occurrence of Channel Transfers/Repeat
  • Occurrence of Repeat Calls (attempts to use the channel)

By tracking and measuring the quality of omnichannel journeys with customer journey analytics, you have data on all customers, not just a few. More importantly, it automates your ability to measuring customer effort score in every customer experience - and that’s the first step to making it easier and more satisfying for customers to interact with your company.

Analyze Customer Effort

The importance of analyzing customer effort using journey analytics begins with the visibility organizations gain in understanding customer behavior through omnichannel journeys. When customer effort analysis is limited to a single-channel view, organizations often miss out on high-effort experiences that occur when customers transfer from one channel to another. Integrating NICE’s Nexidia Analytics with Customer Journey Analytics brings further clarity as to why the customer deflected to an agent-assisted channel or repeatedly used a specific channel. This allows organizations to move away from educated guesses about how to improve the customer experience and instead rely on data-driven insights to reduce effort.

Another reason why using journey analytics is beneficial in reducing customer effort is the ability to identify journeys that lead to negative outcomes. The Journey Excellence Score (JES), an innovative metric from NICE Customer Journey Analytics predicts which journeys could potentially lead to customer churn or complaint. Organizations benefit as JES proactively uncovers key insights into which high-effort journeys should be investigated first.

To learn more about how Customer Journey Analytics can help your organization take customer effort out of customer experience, listen to our recent webinar on the subject entitled “The Key to Customer Loyalty: Measure and Understand Customer Effort.”

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