Fine, I may be carrying a few extra pounds of summer margaritas around right now, but that’s not what I mean here by leaning out. And I’m not talking about work. Or parenting. In fact, those are the places I actually lean in (even though I temporarily hated Sheryl Sandberg in 2013 when her book, Lean In, was published). The point is, because I lean into my career and lean into raising two boys in this crazy mixed-up world, I basically want to lean out everywhere else. And that means, most often, in my role as a customer.
When I think about it, I’m a customer every day multiple times in different ways. I run a household that buys things, I run a team that needs supplies, and I help companies who make serious purchases of both products and services. All in all, my spending power and sphere of influence on the spending power of others is substantial. I have a lot of business to give to vendors, suppliers, store owners, and websites. What I don’t have is a lot of time or discretionary effort to invest.
Ahhh, effort. We can only direct effort at so many things before there just isn’t any extra to give, right? And that’s why delivering an extraordinary customer experience is a smart way for companies to really stand out. Make it possible for your customers to do less and they will love you more! After all, if everyone making a purchase with your business is a fraction as busy as you are, don’t you think they’d appreciate having to try only a little--or not at all--to do business with you?
Sales Go Up When Customer Effort Goes Down
Sarah Dibble, an executive advisor at Gartner, says: “If you can only measure one thing, it should be effort. Our research finds that effort is the strongest driver of customer loyalty.”
If you take what Sarah is saying to heart, then you should always be asking:
- How much work should people have to do to give you their money?
- How quickly do you get customers exactly what they want or need or do they need to exert extra effort?
The answers to the questions above impact really important things, like customer satisfaction and net promoter scores, costs, repurchase rates, and employee retention… which has a major effect on whether your business thrives or struggles. Luckily, it’s super easy to figure out your Customer Effort Score. You just need to ask a single question and do some light math. I suggest you start keeping track of this if you aren’t already doing so.
Gartner explains why measuring and investing in lowering customer effort makes sense:
- 94% of customers going through an effortless experience are likely to repurchase
- 88% of customers going through an effortless experience are likely to spend more
- 81% of customers going through a high level of effort are likely to share their bad experience with friends
It couldn’t be more obvious--the easier your brand is to do business with, the better. And therefore every organization should be creating an experience that lists ease as the main goal, right? Yet, somehow, it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m curious...what are you doing today to make your company easier to do business with? Let’s discuss.