Is simplification of services and customer experience worth $86B?

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Simplicity is all the rage in experience design circles these days. Which we are all searching for. Consider some of these visionaries:

Martin Wezowski, the Chief Designer and Innovation at SAP, has several quotes about making things simple for the enterprise technology world. His focus in to make the future of work simpler is one of his drivers. He has said:

“The quality of near future user experiences will be determined by the understanding if the user’s context, the semantic nature of the moment, the distillation of the user’s situation, individual catering of clocked down choices to the level of being unique for each one of us.”

Shep Hyken, says: “Make it easy to do business with you.” Author of Be Amazing or Go Home: Seven Customer Service Habits That Create Confidence with Everyone

Ted Rubin, best known for #RonR or Return on Relationship and author of several books has recently said:

“The ability to scale, and create a long-term attachment to enterprise technology, will be all about SIMPLICITY… make it frictionless and employees will make it part of their daily routine and use it again, and again, and again.”

Mike Wittenstein from Storyminers, has said: “Simple designs are better because they make promises easier to make—and keep. Simple customer experiences are easier to deliver, adjust, and sustain, so customers do less work and companies make more money. Simple not only means a better experience for customers—it yields a more profitable one as well!”

Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do recently mentioned when asked about simplicity: “With all the new capabilities available to companies today, it’s easy to end up with more complexity. But customers want convenience and simplicity now more than ever. So the challenge is to use technology to create a seamless, simple customer experience.”

Annette Franz, from CX-Journey, recently when asked about simplicity she answered saying: “There’s a maxim that states: a confused customer buys nothing. Unfortunately, companies confuse customers in many ways. To identify those points of confusion – and then to redesign a simpler experience – use journey mapping in conjunction with value stream mapping.”

But even with all these quotes, is better CX tied enough to the bottom line?

Well, yes.

Just before I started working on this article, global brand strategy and experience firm Siegel+Gale completed their 7th annual Global Brand Simplicity Index study, which is designed to achieve three things:
1. Understand the impact of simplicity on consumer behavior and firm performance;
2. Determine which brands and industries create the simplest experiences;
3. Figure out which top brands use simplicity to drive disruption
Since 2009, a stock portfolio comprised of publicly-traded brands which focus on simplicity has outperformed major indices, and by a lot. Simplicity may indeed be a winning path:

The findings are summarized on Forbes’ CMO Network, with the top 10 brands in this year’s study being:

If this was my list, I wouldn’t have included McDonald’s or KFC because of how unhealthy they are. But I believe they made this list because of simplicity around their customer experience and cost structure, so I understand.
I was maybe a little bit surprised that more enterprise tech companies weren’t on this list, at least near the top (the only ones here are really Google, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube), in other regions Microsoft, Facebook, and some other tech and electronic companies as GE, Samsung and Paypal and even Apple were far from the top but in the list. In this list there’s a huge amount of food retails but that makes sense, because they absolutely need to deliver great, simple humanized customer experience to get repeat business. Retailers often have it easier designing simpler experiences. But for me is a surprise to see the German chains Lidl and Aldi in the top of the list. Yes they deliver very simple experiences, but almost without any aspect of a great customer experience here in Germany and around the globe.
Somehow we need to change the mental models of connecting enterprise technology and solutions with the word complexity. Companies like SAP, Dell-EMC, Salesforce, Microsoft, Sprinklr, Lithium, Software AG,IBM, Adobe, Tableau, Genesys, SaS Analytics, Nice Systems, and others should be regularly appearing on lists such as these, since they are trying to turn complexity in simplicity, and is not a real easy task as you may know in the enterprise technologies sectors.
Some of the bigger statistics that Siegel+Gale found are important to understand, including:
● 64% of consumers will pay more for simpler experiences (46% U.S.A., 48% Germany– but much higher in countries like India, at 92%, and China, at 85%)
● 61% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it’s simpler to use
● A stock portfolio of companies from these simpler brands outperformed major stock indexes by 330%
● When your experiences are too complex, an average enterprise brand can leave an estimated share of $86 billion on the table

Now, obviously different regions are used to different kinds of complexity in their products — and each country in surveys like this is unique, in terms of customer experience around services and business as a whole. Look at China as an example. A company like WeChat is a very simplified experience as a complete cockpit of the western world separated social media all conjointly. Other companies, like Huawei (building amazing things) and Alibaba, are very easy to use and understand. This is all based in persons mental models, and perception, obviously, what is easy for you doesn’t necessarily make easy to others and vice versa. We can’t generalize from one survey, no. But in almost every region on the globe, the simpler products are out-performing the more complex ones. And there are billions of dollars at stake here. The original article, “Customer Experience Simplicity in Technology: How Quality & Design Impact the Bottom Line” was published few months ago at Eglobalis.

“Simplicity is a customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue generation engine! Its Simple! Simply Simplify!”-By Ricardo Saltz Gulko

4 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent article Ricardo, with lots of great statistics and examples. I write a great deal about branding myself and certainly try to practice the “simplicity” mantra for our clients. Our litmus test is that if it takes a website visitor more than 10 seconds to figure out what you do and how it benefits them, the brand is too confusing.

  2. Hi Christopher, Thanks so much for your kind commentary. Many companies are leaving a business at the table because complexity in design, quality, usability, and in our actual era simplicity becomes a winner. I liked your approach for simplicity and simplification. Amazon simple and the efficient experience changed everything including my core sector of enterprise technology. Thanks so much and kind regards R

  3. I’m glad to see Aldi at the top of the list. I love the simple shopping experience where I can complete this task quickly without having to compare multiple sizes and multiple brands but am still assured of getting high quality at a low price.

  4. Hi Bob, when I first got in Aldi here in Germany, I honestly thought that was very “simplistic” and I was not impressed…later on in the US I saw the exact same experience and started to reflect about it. With their experience and some other more B2B companies, I created my model to my upcoming book. I inquired about them and the amazing thing about Aldi is that the experience we experience today was and is exactly what the 2 brothers created….Simple is good, , profitable and make our life easier. 🙂

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