Customer Effort: Don’t Make Your Customers Work For You

First contact resolution, average handling time…many brands consider these KPIs critical for measuring their customer service success. But what do these numbers really say about loyalty? The truth is, not much. While resolving an issue quickly may restore faith in a customer, minimizing his effort to begin with is the greatest way to earn his trust. According to a study by Corporate Executive Board, reducing customer effort is key to earning long-term loyalty. The Customer Effort Score, or CES, is an efficient way to measure customer satisfaction and is the KPI your company really needs to keep an eye on. So how can you reduce customer effort?

Take a proactive approach

Give your customers the support they need proactively. Live chat is one excellent way to do so. Sending prompt chat invitations when customers are browsing your website is a great way to save them time and effort. Big data is another important resource for designing proactive customer experiences. It can reveal important insights about your customers’ behaviors and preferences, enabling your brand to offer experiences that meet their needs. For example, long average handling times may indicate miscommunication among departments or insufficient use of contact center technologies such as CRM databases. Anticipating your customers’ needs helps reduce their effort when interacting with your brand.

Get your whole company involved

Great customer experiences are created when your entire company works as a team. Be sure to streamline the service process across all channels and departments. For example, ensuring a smooth omnichannel experience that allows customers to switch channels effortlessly is essential. Employees should also understand their roles within the company and be given the tools to succeed. Give them the training they need to master the technologies used in the contact center, and invite them to share feedback regarding their interactions with customers.  A team effort quite simply reduces customer effort.


Empower customers through self-service

Helping customers help themselves is an ideal way to reduce their effort. Answering common questions on your website can prevent the need to contact your company in the first place. IVR menus should be designed to reflect current company issues and events and always route customers to the most appropriate agents. Customers should also be able to connect to an agent right away and bypass menu options if they wish. Lastly, never underestimate the power of artificial intelligence for reducing customer effort. Chatbots are excellent for responding to simple customer questions and assisting during purchase. In addition, innovative technologies such as Vocalcom’s AI-powered predictive behavioral routing can match customers and agents with similar personalities and communication styles effortlessly, leading to greater customer satisfaction rates. The less effort your customers have to make, the more likely they will support your company. When your Customer Effort Score is low, chances are that your other KPIs will be optimal as well. To create the best customer experiences that lead to loyalty, make sure you are truly serving your customers’ needs and not making them work for you.

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