Guest Post: Why the Best Customer Experiences are Simple

Dan Gingiss is an international keynote speaker, customer experience coach, podcaster, and the author of The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share.

Measuring Customer Effort Score is a key component of a strong customer experience program. But once you know your score, what can you do to improve it?

Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge, wrote a great column in advance of the popular Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2018. The headline read: “Everything is too complicated.”

Patel noted that while CES was always fun because it unveiled brand-new gadgets to the world, he wasn’t sure if the world was ready.

“Most people have no idea how any of these things work, and are already hopelessly confused by the tech they have,” he wrote. “The tech industry is starting to make these assumptions faster than anyone can reasonably be expected to keep up.”

After an informal survey of friends and family, Patel learned that many people were confused about the difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, why some text messages are green while others are blue, whether Hulu and Roku are the same thing, and more. These are things that appear basic but only because those of us “in the know” assume everyone else is.

‘Do Simple Better’

 Former Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon coined the mantra “Do Simple Better” to ensure that the basics are never forgotten.

In baseball, Maddon is talking about always making the routine plays, whether it’s fielding a ground ball, sliding into second, or laying down a bunt. In business, this equates to making every interaction with the customer easier.

Simplicity is a basic tenet of customer experience, but it is often overlooked in favor of a company’s outdated rules or procedures.

Doing simple better means aiming for the fewest clicks (or taps) possible to complete a digital task, allowing a customer to easily talk to a human being on the phone if they need to, and writing legal terms and conditions in language customers can understand.

Reducing Customer Effort

According to Harvard Business Review, the number-one most important factor in a customer’s loyalty is reducing customer effort.

Then why, as Patel notes, is everything “too complicated?”

Often things that make sense “on paper” don’t translate correctly to “real life.” The best way to suss out these potential customer pain points? Go through the entire journey and try to “break things.”

Digital design is about making things people use; think of it conceptually not as a website or mobile app but as an experience.

Completing tasks on your digital properties, whether it’s your website, mobile app, or social media page, should require low effort from users.

When designing for simplicity in digital, guard against what’s called “choice overload.”

“The phenomenon of choice overload occurs as a result of too many choices being available to consumers,” according to “Overchoice has been associated with unhappiness, decision fatigue, going with the default option, as well as choice deferral—avoiding making a decision altogether, such as not buying a product.”

In other words, reducing the number of choices and simplifying the options can be helpful to your customers and potential customers and also get them to buy more.

Sometimes, no choice is required at all.

When attempting to deposit a check through my bank’s mobile app, the app asks where I want the funds placed.

The only problem is that I only have one account.

So why does the app give me this “choice” every single time?

Clearly the functionality was built for customers who have more than one account, but the developers forgot about the percentage of customers that only have a single account.

The best digital experiences don’t get in the user’s way and just let them do their thing on their own terms. Helping them accomplish their task by eliminating roadblocks will also reduce frustration and improve satisfaction.

Every day, think about how you can make your customers’ lives easier. Do that, and you will create lifelong loyalty.

This blog includes exclusive excerpts from The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share, available for pre-order now on Amazon. Used with permission.