Every day, countless service providers make choices that unnecessarily complicate service interactions. At best, those decisions make the customer experience less enjoyable. At worst, unneeded complexity opens the door to complaints, bad reviews and competitors.
Organizations that know the value of simplicity strive to streamline processes and eliminate rocks on the service-experience road. Furthermore, those who understand the importance of effortless service know that achieving it is an ongoing group effort. From the boardroom to the service window, everyone from top to bottom diligently works to eradicate needless steps, complexities or jargon that may confuse customers and obstruct them from reaching their goals.
Just as most processes don’t become convoluted overnight, it takes time to go in the other direction.
Streamlined Processes: Simplifying processes, procedures and workflows eliminates unnecessary complexities, making customer interactions more efficient and effortless.
Clear Communication: Using straightforward language ensures that product information, instructions and policies are easily understandable, creating a faster customer experience.
Intuitive Navigation: Creating intuitive interfaces helps customers quickly find what they need without clicking on the wrong link, going to the incorrect location or calling the wrong number.
Reduced Cognitive Load: Organizing information and choices in a clear and logical manner helps customers make confident decisions, reducing the likelihood of buyer’s remorse, returns or calls to the help desk.
Efficient Problem Resolution: Providing simple and accessible channels for customer support enables quicker problem resolution.
User Engagement: Presenting information or products in a simplified way makes customers want to use a service provider.
My business is complicated! We’re not running a hamburger stand or a retail store. Our product is highly technical.
While not every interaction is basic, all service providers can make interactions easier. No matter who you are, there are opportunities to streamline design, usability, communication, accessibility and problem resolution.
If you open your eyes, many problems are obvious. Here are a few of the usual suspects:
In addition to the easy-to-find improvement opportunities, most teams can find more if they start asking questions:
Organizations that take simplicity seriously know the goldmine of information frontline service representatives can provide if they are encouraged to bring issues to management.
Routine Complaints: For every customer who voices dissatisfaction, three or four others will say nothing. Organizations that treat service seriously see complaints as canaries in the coal mine, and they encourage service representatives to track concerns and bring them forward.
Multiple Contact Attempts: If customers need to contact the organization multiple times for the same issue or related issues, there’s a problem and an opportunity to simplify the resolution process. Frontline representatives are almost always the first to recognize boomerang interactions.
Poorly Defined Policies: Confused and confounded customers are the result of poorly defined policies. Representatives who must manage them know when guidelines or rules are ill-defined.
Lack of Training and Tools: Frontline providers are also acutely aware when they don’t know the answer, can’t get a system to cooperate, or must implement a workaround.
Once you start looking, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work involved to make things easy. Take a breath, and then take another. Just as most processes don’t become convoluted overnight, it takes time to go in the other direction.
To build momentum, start with straightforward fixes. Next, prioritize what is easier to implement and what will have the most impact on the customer experience. Then, get to work.
About the Author:
Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised. For more info, visit Businesstrainingworks.com.
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