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The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty Hardcover – Sep 12 2013
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“This is what every business book should be like: stuffed with practical advice, wellsupported by research, and written to keep you eagerly flipping the pages.”
—DAN HEATH, coauthor of Decisive, Switch, and Made to Stick, from the foreword
“Most current customer support and customer experience improvement programs are merely replays of age-old concepts with some new terminology thrown in. The customer effort research and approach recounted here is different. It is truly the first really novel idea that I’ve heard—and implemented—in a long time. This is an approach that drives innovative, significant improvement within my teams . . . actions grounded in solid data . . . actions that yield measurable, customer-visible results that we just couldn’t achieve via other means. It really has changed the way I think about the support my team delivers.”
—DAN ROURKE, director of software support, HomeAway, Inc.
“A must-have for any true customer experience leader’s library. Matt, Nick, and Rick are the ‘MythBusters’ of customer experience, dispelling many commonly held but inaccurate beliefs around the drivers of disloyalty and delight and what will really drive true value to your business.”
—LYNN HOLMGREN, vice president, customer experience strategy, Frontier Communications
“If you are looking for one resource to keep on your desk that will bring you back to the right focus for delivering a better customer service, this is that resource.”
—CHRIS HALE, vice president, reservation services, Hyatt
“Every business is looking for the secret to creating loyal customers. This book not only builds a compelling case for effortless customer experiences being the key to loyalty, but also provides a clear road map for any business to achieve that goal. It’s a must-read!”
—DEB OLER, vice president and general manager, Grainger Brand, W. W. Grainger
“What’s brilliant about The Effortless Experience is its pragmatism, illustrated by the observation that we can easily make things worse for customers and often do more harm than good. Here is real, practical, implementable guidance to help avoid those pitfalls.”
—RICHARD JOYCE, operations director, Home Retail Group Customer Services
“The Effortless Experience provides a well-researched foundation for customer experience transformation. Reducing customer effort links the work of the service organization to the business-wide goal of increasing customer loyalty. The concepts themselves are pragmatic and actionable and this book will get you under way.”
—SUE ATKINS, head of service experience, Telecom NZ Ltd
About the Author
MATTHEW DIXON is executive director of the Sales & Service Practice of CEB. He is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, and his previous book, The Challenger Sale, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller and won acclaim as “the most important advance in selling for many years” (Neil Rackham) and “the beginning of a wave that will take over a lot of selling organizations in the next decade” (Business Insider).
NICK TOMAN is senior director of research for CEB’s Sales & Service Practice and is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review.
RICK DELISI is senior director of advisory services for CEB’s Sales & Service Practice and a noted public speaker and facilitator.
CEB is the leading member-based advisory company. By combining the best practices of thousands of member companies with its advanced research methodologies and human capital analytics, CEB equips senior leaders and their teams with insight and actionable solutions to transform operations.
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Top Customer Reviews
Easy to read, important to implement. I believe you'll find that every area you make more effortless, will also save you money because you will be streamlining and automating processes.
The narrative was slightly better. Customer effort is important, and is something businesses should care about. Then again, the narrative often failed to convince. For example, why should we use their metric, CES, which they explain is strongly correlated with NPS, when we could just use NPS? Especially when they go out of their way to show a low CES may actually be a bad thing.
At best, this book may serve to start a discussion. But be very, very careful about accepting anything in here as anything remotely approaching the truth. This book could be retitled Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics, but that is giving the authors too much credit. It's quite clear they simply have no understanding of even basic statistics.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book (hence the 5-star review). I just thought it got much better after Ch. 1 - where the authors worked awfully hard trying to persuade readers that "delighting" customers was somehow a poor use of their time and energy.
Perhaps you're familiar with the customer service maxim to "treat every customer as though he/she is your grandparent"? Well, I put a slightly different spin on that. I think about serving customers as I would serve any other person in my life whom I value (friends, neighbors, children, spouses...).
With this in mind, consider the following paragraph from Ch. 1:
"But as powerful and compelling as (legendary customer service) stories are, what if you checked back with those same customers a year or two down the road to see how much more business they're bringing you? Because the data shows that in the aggregate, customers who are moved from a level of `below expectations' up to `meets expectations' offer about the same economic value as those whose expectations were exceeded."
Imagine applying this logic to your marriage: "Honey, from now on I'm going to focus on meeting your expectations as opposed to exceeding them. I read this great new book called The Effortless Marriage and I'm now convinced that there's no real value to exceeding your expectations by `delighting' you with love notes, roses, and that sort of nonsense. So, what's for dinner?"
In The Effortless Experience, the authors rebuke those service providers who "delight" their customers (for example, by expressing genuine interest in them or providing them with a pleasant surprise) as misguided. Instead, the authors advocate for reducing customer effort. As most reasonable customer service professionals understand, it doesn't have to be one or the other (delight customers OR reduce customer effort). It can be both.
In fact, as a customer myself, I'm "delighted" whenever a service provider reduces the effort I have to expend during a transaction. And I'm sure I'm not alone.
At the same time, we are trying to make our customer service organizations as cost effective and efficient as possible. So our customer service strategies are constrained, rightfully so, by our business strategies.
But is this really the right problem to be solving? Is this what customers really want. Yes, they absolutely want to be treated well, by skilled and polite people. But more then anything else, they want their problem solved---as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
And that's where we go wrong in so many cases. We are solving for the wrong problem. If we started focusing on effortless customer service experience, we would probably change everything we do. We would possibly reduce the cost of service delivery, more effectively drive customer loyalty, and so on.
This book turns much of our traditional thinking about customer service upside down. It provides data challenging old thoughts about a "delighted customer" is a loyal customer--both spending more and recommending you more.
This is a must read and think book for anyone in Customer Service. It's a must read book for every sales and marketing executive. It should stimulate everyone to question their assumptions, reframing what they do to create effortless experiences.
Peter Smith, Author, Hiring Squirrels
There was switch in tone however, where the authors turned the book into a self-marketing asset to promote their consulting services. For example as they stated, "regardless of whether we do this for you or you do it on your own using the tools and methods described in this book" (p. 171).
And at one point, the authors made the comment about front-line support representative , "You're corporate. They're not" (p. 195). This seemed a bit divisive.
Take a read and then judge if it was really worth the investment.
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