Reduce Customer Effort

When we think of customer service, oftentimes the focus is placed on impressing the customer. We want to go above and beyond, dazzle them with our superior customer service. Sounds like customer loyalty is all but guaranteed with this approach, right? Wrong.

What if none of that actually mattered? What if it was simply a matter of reducing customer effort? Well, that’s what Dixon argues in this book. According to extensive research that is discussed throughout this book, the data clearly indicates that developing customer loyalty is dependent on minimizing customer effort. Dixon discusses various case studies that illustrate how successful customer-oriented businesses have managed to identify ways to simplify the experience for customers.

The role of customer service is to mitigate disloyalty by reducing customer effort.

Perceived vs. actual effort

Once we understand that reducing customer effort is the name of the game, Dixon highlights the importance of understanding that perceived effort is vital. Oftentimes there is a disconnect between how companies and customers grade the quality of an interaction. Primarily, this disconnect is due to a company’s inability to anticipate the future needs of the customer.

Although an interaction may be resolved appropriately, the inability to predict future issues a customer might face can cause a customer to call back again. Thus, the perceived effort on behalf of the customer is high. Although the individual interaction between company and customer may have been efficient, a holistic overview of the number and duration of interactions would show that the customer’s experience requires a lot of effort.

From a customer’s perspective, when something goes wrong, the overriding sentiment is: Help me fix it.

Positives

Data Driven

Dixon focuses on the data, and provides relevant information based on data analysis and business case studies he’s been involved with.

Business Relevance

The various case studies that Dixon discusses are relevant to people working in companies of varying sizes. His first-hand experience studying customer loyalty within companies is evident.

Negatives

Contradictions

One of the main lessons in this book is that customers are becoming less interested in customer service interactions over the phone. Yet, a large part of this book discusses how companies can improve their customer service via the phone. I found it odd that Dixon didn’t spend more time discussing alternative methods of customer service if his data points in that direction

This book is for you if…

  • You work in a customer service department and/or manage customer service teams
  • You and/or your team use phones for customer service interactions frequently
  • You want to learn how to develop customer loyalty