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What Customers Really Want

If you’re reading this, you probably work in customer care or a call center.  Let’s start off by forgetting our professional expertise and reflect on our own experiences as a customer.

What do you and I want as customers?  When you boil it down, it’s quite simple.  We want two things:

  1. We want it to be easy to do business.
  2. We want a quick response to our questions and resolution to our issues.

We don’t want to have to think about doing business with the companies with which we interact.  We just want it to work.  Effortlessly.  When we do have a question, need, or concern, we want the flexibility to quickly and easily interact and resolve so we can move on to other things we want to (or should be) doing.

Personally, I don’t want bells and whistles.  I don’t even need to be surprised by the overwhelming beauty of my experience.  Harvard Business Review (July 2010) plainly stated, “Stop trying to delight your customers.”  What customers really want is a quick and satisfactory resolution to their service issues.

As professionals, we have seen this evolution of “thinking like the customer” as our industry grows and matures.  Gone is the “check the box” QA program; checking the box every time an agent says “please”, “thank you” or addresses the customer by name.  The trend has shifted to a behavioral-based monitoring environment.  Post-call consumer surveys have morphed from a long, 10+ question, outbound call survey lasting 20 minutes to two to three well-aligned questions, conducted in a more convenient format for the customer, including via text message.  The CSAT score itself has expanded to increase focus on Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Thought leadership in this area has cued into what you and I as consumers have known all along:  Ease of doing business is the key.  Most customers encounter loyalty-eroding experiences when they have to interact with a Customer Service organization.  In that Harvard Business Review article they quote, on average:

  • 56% have to re-explain an issue
  • 57% have to switch from web self-service to a phone interaction
  • 59% say resolving their issue requires moderate to high energy expenditure
  • 59% are transferred to another specialist
  • 62% have to contact the provider repeatedly to resolve the issue

Keep your customers happy by preventing these interactions.  Number one; make sure your products work as advertised.  Second, think about focusing on how to streamline and perfect the customer interaction process via every contact channel to provide a seamless resolution with minimal effort on the customers’ part.

“Customer Effect Score” is a way of evaluating how easy it is for customers to do business with you, and is more in line with what they really want.  As I mentioned, customers don’t want to have to interact with the companies with whom they do business.  They don’t want to call, go online for self-serve solutions, or navigate your IVR.  They just want the product or service to work.  When the customer does have a reason to interact with you, they want the experience to be as easy and effortless as possible.  They want to get in, get a resolution, and move on.

Yes, CSAT, FCR, and NPS are all big parts of your customer’s overall experience.  Stop with the freebies and confetti.  You’re wasting time, energy, and money on “surprise and delight.”  Give your customers “shock and awe” by just getting it right and making it easier for them to enjoy your product, and their precious time.