Delight your customers, or make it easy for them? How do we reconcile two popular CX books with opposite conclusions – The Effortless Experience vs. The Power of Moments?
Consultancy CEB is the driver behind The Effortless Experience. They conducted thousands of surveys after service calls across multiple industries, and this research led to a clear message: delighting customers doesn’t create loyalty – consistent delivery and easy experiences do. The book offers compelling research to back this up, showing why you need to reduce effort in your service experience. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it. This book also introduces the second version of the Customer Effort Score, which is their preferred way to measure transactions. According to the CEB, companies earn the most loyalty when they move customers from a low to a moderate score.
The Power of Moments is another great book, and I included a Q&A of the authors here. They use data from rival consultancy Forrester to come to the opposite conclusion – that it’s most important to delight your customers. Forrester similarly conducted thousands of surveys across multiple industries to show that companies receive disproportionate levels of loyalty when they delight customers. According to Forrester, companies earn the most loyalty when they move customers from a moderate to a high Customer Effort score.
Wait, what? How can both be true?
They ask different questions. But while that may have some impact, it’s not the driver. What’s more important is when they ask the questions.
The CEB’s surveys occurred after a service call, whereas Forrester’s appear to be a combination of transactional (sent after an interaction with the company, such as a store purchase or hotel stay) and relationship surveys (sent on a regular basis to existing customers).
This tiny little detail makes all the difference.
A service call is a special – but critical – journey. It typically happens when something else has gone wrong. Customers’ needs and desires are very different when on a service call. Consider finding an incorrect charge on your Visa after a visit to Disneyland. Do you want the same surprise and delight from their customer service team as you do during the visit to the park? Having a character visit you is delightful at the park – having your agent talk to you in a Mickey Mouse voice is annoying.
Beyond Philosophy did a great study about when people call to make a complaint, and showed that an easy service experience had greater impact on stated loyalty than did giving out free stuff such as gift cards. If you’re working on the service experience, follow the CEB’s advice as stated in their Harvard Business Review article, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.”
For the rest of your experience, look to The Power of Moments. We’ve known for twenty years that satisfied customers aren’t loyal. A feeling of satisfaction isn’t enough to resist a cheaper or more convenient competitor. But a feeling of delight is. So look for opportunities to turn Moments of Truth to Signature Moments – those interactions when delight turns to a memorable experience that creates loyalty.
Both books are fantastic and offer solid advice. But it’s up to you as a CX leader to understand when to apply each.