It Doesn’t Pay to Delight a Customer

I recently heard Rick DeLisi, co-author of The Effortless Experience, give a Keynote: All of Your Customers are loyal Right Now. What about Tomorrow? Rick shared that after years of focus on the “above and beyond” service mentality, research of tens of thousands of customers globally across multiple industries and customer types indicates there is no difference between the loyalty of customers whose expectations are exceeded in service interactions and those whose expectations are simply met. In fact, customer service interactions are nearly four times more likely to lead to disloyalty than loyalty.

The researched showed that 96 percent of customers who put forth high effort to resolve their issues are more disloyal, but only 9% of those with low effort interactions are more disloyal. Creating low effort customer interactions is the clear goal for the service organization. ‘Delight’ only happens 16% of the time and costs 10 – 20%.

This was not what they expected to find in this study! So then dug into what was the root cause of disloyalty and found seven drivers:

  • Repeat contact
  • Channel switching
  • Transfers
  • Repeat information
  • Robotic service
  • Policies/procedures
  • “hassle factor”

They concluded that organizations needed to mitigate disloyalty by rethinking effort. To build loyalty, organizations need to stop focusing on exceeding expectations and start focusing on making it easy for customers to reach their goals. Rick shared these four pillars of effortless experience:

Channel stickiness

Determine where there are avoidable (or desirable) channel switching behaviors through a map of the customer journey by channel. To prevent unnecessary customer contacts and reduce customer effort, it’s first important to understand why customers reach out as well as to address drivers of effort.

Next Issue Avoidance

Solve adjacent issues. When a customer calls about a problem, solve that problem and other problems that they may not be aware of so they don’t have to call back again.

Experience Engineering

Be a customer advocate and use positive language. Learn directly from customers precisely where and why there are areas of high effort within each channel and how to eradicate them.

Front-line Control

Knowledge Workers share leanings. They develop guidelines to prioritize and close performance gaps as well as employ tools to gauge ROI of improvement efforts.

Loyalty is driven by how well an organization delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Reducing effort starts by measuring and monitoring effort.