This guest post was contributed by Amy Etheridge, the Head of Customer Advocacy at MindTouch. She has 20 years of experience in software, including marketing, sales, success, and support. She is dedicated to understanding the holistic customer experience.
As the Head of Customer Advocacy at MindTouch, I spend a lot of time digging into our customer satisfaction metrics and identifying areas to improve the customer experience. MindTouch believes strongly in environmental scanning activities—a systematic look at data that can reveal the leading indicators for customer dissatisfaction and ultimately churn. We found that customer effort score can be a very effective way of quantifying these leading indicators.
According to a report from Gartner, 96% of customers become more disloyal after a high-effort service interaction. If the data is any indication, delivering low-effort service and support interactions is crucial to customer retention. I can attest to that!
Reading and responding to CES can be an effective way to take the pulse of the customer experience and identify high-friction customer touchpoints—those parts of the journey that leave customers frantic, frustrated, and ready to churn.
Here are three common mistakes I see companies make that negatively impact CES.
1. The Handoff
Customers interact with different departments at different stages throughout the journey. They may move from sales to onboarding, for example. From onboarding to support. Any kind of handoff requires clear internal communication so that the customer doesn’t need to explain their use case, timeframes, and other details to multiple departments. Seamless handoffs result in the customer feeling that we are their partner for success—that the entire company is aligned to work on their project so that the customer can meet their goals.
2. Response Time
It’s really important to respond to customers as quickly as possible, if for no other reason than to let them know our team is working on the issue. It matters. A Salesforce report found that 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect companies to respond to and interact with them in real time. The clock is ticking! In my experience, any time the customer needs to reach out for a status update on a project or a support ticket, they consider this a high-effort experience. At MindTouch we have implemented internal SLAs that track response time for every interaction on a support ticket, ensuring that response times are meeting customer expectations.
3. Setting Expectations
Business professionals aren’t too keen on surprises. One way to avoid surprises is to set expectations early and often. This, ultimately, comes down to good communication. If we let our customers know, from the outset, what comes next—including timeframes, communication channels, and expected outcomes—we reduce the risk that outcomes fail to align with expectations. Key touch points such as onboarding and “the handoff” to other departments are a good chance to establish these expectations.
Easier Said Than Done
These three mistakes are so common because they’re easy to neglect and tend to quietly compound. A company’s ability to improve the handoff, response times, and expectation setting is directly related to that company’s commitment to learning from what customers tell us.
That’s why KPIs like customer effort score exist, so that we can better understand the root cause of negative customer experiences. With the root cause in hand, backed by quantitative customer feedback data, you can begin the important work of remedying these high effort experiences. Over time, the quality of your CES scores will begin to reflect these efforts.
Your customers will thank you for it.
Be the customer experience champion at your company. Sign up today for free Customer Effort Score feedback with Wootric.