A few weeks ago, I co-presented a webinar (“Is Customer Effort Score the new NPS?“) with the most excellent John Ragsdale of TSIA on the role of customer effort in today’s technology brands and services organizations. The webinar gathered a lot of attention in terms of both attendance and ensuing conversations after the event. So, last month I decided to field a consumer survey with an outside agency and assess how important customer effort is for customer retention, loyalty and advocacy. The findings confirmed some of our assumptions and expectations, but also highlighted a number of new insights …
In summary, no matter how much customers like your brand, they shouldn’t have to work to love your products. This is especially true for technology as new products become more complex and difficult for consumers to navigate and use on a regular basis. Data shows that regardless of the price, 89 percent of consumers will return a technology product within one week if it is too difficult to set up.
In fact, nearly two-thirds of consumers will stop purchasing products from that brand altogether. You can see how both costs and lost revenue can quickly add up if you’re not addressing key steps in the customer journey where customer effort is getting in the way of the customer promise.
Our Support.com survey included over 2,000 consumers and measured key touch points across the customer journey to understand how customer effort impacts product returns, company revenue, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty for technology brands.
Here are some of the key issues we uncovered:
- Troubleshooting technical product issues is the most challenging part of the customer experience
- 60% say setup/installation and troubleshooting with tech support is the most challenging part of the customer experience and requires the most effort
- Customers might be willing to invest more time and effort for high-ticket technology products, but their tolerance for a complicated customer experience is low regardless of price
- 72% will spend at least one hour researching a product that costs more than $200
- 87% will return a product that costs less than $200 within a week if set up and installation was too difficult
- 52% will put forth more effort to engage tech support, regardless of the cost
- Customer effort has a direct business impact on brand loyalty and revenue growth, especially when it comes to technology products and customer support
- 64% will stop purchasing products from a brand altogether if they find it too difficult to interact with a certain technology brand
The survey findings are a clear call to action for product and service organizations to invest in measuring customer effort and better understanding their customers’ challenges. It is no longer viable for companies to count on brand loyalty as an incentive for customers to put more effort into a particular tech product or service.
By taking a deeper look at effort during different steps of the customer journey, the report also helps uncover some opportunities to reduce effort and impact the business. For example, with setup and troubleshooting, companies have an opportunity to resolve issues and mitigate returns before they happen by employing a personalized and intelligent solution for both assisted and self-service customer support.
The entire set of survey data will be available in a new e-book soon. Stay tuned!