When customers have problems or questions about the products and services they use, all they really want is a quick, effective answer. They are probably already in pretty bad mood given that their product or service has failed to deliver as expected, so why further irritate them with a painful support process. Regardless of what the marketing department thinks, customers really aren’t interested in ‘building a relationship’ with a service provider, they just want to get their issue solved quickly and easily and get on with their lives.
Results below clearly show how the amount of customer effort expended impacts customer satisfaction and loyalty. When very low efforts are required by customers it has a very positive impact on how satisfied and loyal they are. If you think browsing through endless pages of a web site, mobile app, or a forum are quick and easy then you’re drinking your own koolaid.
Figure 1 – Source: 2016 NICE-BCG Customer Experience Survey
Service providers are obviously focused on improving customer experience as a way to differentiate but it’s getting harder to find something to reduce customer effort given the growing complexity of connected devices, digital services and the IoT. Digital self-care is what telecom customers are asking for. The study below shows that 32% of telecom customers prefer self service to a physical visit (14%) or calling a live rep (12%).
Figure 2 – Source: 2016 NICE-BCG Customer Experience Survey
As mentioned in previous articles, service providers are in a unique position to stake out a position as the destination for quick and painless answers in their digital care efforts. The same old self-care products such as, bill presentation, troubleshooting tools and device how-to libraries are all helpful but require customers to navigate through a lot of data to find answers. All of these choices require a lot of patience while the customer navigates web pages or app screens and sifts through all of the info to find the specific piece of information they are looking for which is a lot of customer effort.
New contextual search technology is making it possible for self-care to take a giant leap forward and service providers are in a unique position to deliver these new self-care tools and become the trusted source for answers. The companies that can successfully implement a successful digital service strategy where customer effort is extremely low will reap significant rewards from higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. In the future, any service provider not delivering support in this way will be seen as a dinosaur.