In today’s fast-paced, digitized, 24/7 world, what your customers crave more than anything is an “easy button” for their lives. That’s where the role of Chief Simplification Officer comes in. Businesses that make it their business to simplify their customers’ lives reap big rewards. But simple isn’t always easy. Sometimes existing processes are so entrenched that aligning your organization around cultural adoption of simplicity can be a lot harder than you think.
When was the last time you reviewed your organization’s end-to-end customer experience with the goal of removing complexity at every step? Webolutions recommends that you do just that, and you may be amazed at how many opportunities you find to make life a little easier on your customers. Below are some examples that often trip up both large and smaller companies:
Sales Process: Do you understand your customers’ buying processes? And, if yes, how have you adapted your processes to make researching and purchasing your solutions as easy as possible? For instance:
- Are you easily found online when they research your category?
- Do you provide information and resources on your website and elsewhere to make it clear what problems you can solve for clients?
- Are you easy to get a hold of?
- Are you responsive to inquiries without being a pest?
- Are you able to customize your offering to meet a client’s specific requirements?
- Do you provide easy-to-understand recommendations and pricing?
- Is your contracting process quick and straightforward?
Onboarding: How easy do you make it for customers to start using your product or service? Installation, training, resource materials, help desks and other support can provide a lasting first impression that helps clients either feel good or less good about their purchase decision.
Customer Service: This is the big kahuna of simplification opportunity. To see how your business stacks up, ask yourself some of these questions:
- How easy are you to contact? How quickly do customers reach a human?
- How knowledgeable are those humans at addressing customer issues? Are they friendly?
- How many inquiries get handled in one call vs. requiring multiple touches?
- What if people prefer other means of service than the telephone—do you have chat, social media-based customer service, online queries, etc.?
- How quickly do you respond when someone leaves a message?
- How many compliments/complaints to you receive about your service experience?
- Are there any proactive components to your customer service?
Communications: There are innumerable ways to simplify communications. First, make sure every communication you draft from product instructions to white papers is written in clear, straightforward language that doesn’t require an advanced degree to decipher. Second, attempt to personalize your communications wherever possible: offer a variety of channels to appeal to individual preferences and deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time. Make sure your communications provide value vs. simply trying to get people to buy—make them informative, educational and/or entertaining if you hope to keep the viewer engaged.
IT Systems: If your business involves ecommerce or other online customer systems, these afford a great opportunity for automation and cost reduction; however, when not user-friendly, they can lead to intense frustration. Evaluate every online system for the user experience it provides:
- Can you accomplish the same goal with less clicks?
- Are you requesting information that is really needed and that the customer is happy to provide?
- Are steps repetitive? When they return will the system retain all their information?
- What if something goes wrong? Is it easy to problem solve within your IT system?
- If someone is having difficulty with your systems can they reach a live person for support?
It’s easy for little complexities to creep into a company’s processes. In fact, it’s often more difficult to be easy to do business with than not. Put on your Chief Simplification Officer hat and do an audit of your customer experience. Once you’ve simplified your external processes, you may also want to look inside your business and ask some of the same questions to drive cultural adoption of simplicity principles in how you get things done internally. Chances are you have as many opportunities to increase internal operational efficiency as you do to simplify life for your customers.
How to Use This Information
Marketers today are the champions of the customer experience. With increasing product commoditization, often the battle for referrals and market share is waged outside the product or service provided. It may have more to do with how your customers view you as a company and whether their values align with yours. By adopting a culture of simplicity and providing the easiest overall experience, you demonstrate that you understand and respect your customers’ needs. Webolutions helps clients audit their customer experience and take an honest, unbiased look at what they see. If you’re ready to start simplifying, call us today at 303-300-2640 or request a consultation online.
In what aspect could your company simplify its customer experience and external processes?