Measuring “ROE” – Return on Ease

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ROI is the Holy Grail for customer experience (CX) programs – an elusive target that can validate your program and lead to greater influence.  Unfortunately, focusing on that big goal can be overwhelming. So for today, let’s target our efforts a bit more modestly, focusing on gains made through making it easier to be your customer.

Ease is the second key to a Game-Changing CX, along with Effectiveness and Emotion. While Emotion has the greatest long-term impact, don’t neglect Ease.

Return on Ease (ROE) is easier (hah!) to track and to impact than emotion. Whereas different personas have different emotional drivers, their appreciation for simplicity is more consistent. It also helps that there are some great examples to lead the way:

  • In their Customer Complaints X-Ray, Beyond Philosophy measured the impact of effort when customers have issues. The more effort it takes to chase their complaints resolution, the worse it was for the customer relationship, including lower satisfaction with the outcome, reduced likelihood to continue being a customer, and increased likelihood to complain in the future.
  • In their famous study introducing the Customer Effort Score, the CEB (now Gartner) showed greater benefits in measuring and acting against effort (the opposite of Ease) than with the Net Promoter Score. Please note that this was specifically for customer service interactions – don’t make the common mistake of applying this learning to all of customer experience.
  • In Forbes, Blake Morgan reports on a McKinsey study that shows that companies that provide a “superior and low effort experience across their customer journeys – such as customer onboarding, account changes and problem resolution – realized positive business results, including a 10-15 percent increase in revenue growth and a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction.” Unfortunately, his link to the report is broken.
  • British Telecom implemented a “Neteasy” approach to measuring effort, combining the Customer Effort Score with the “net” approach from the Net Promoter Score.
  • Jiffy Lube provides a cool dual-purpose example – showing the impact of ease and of text analytics. They found that locations where just 1% more customers reference “ease” in their comments had an average of $14,000 higher revenue than other stores.

I particularly like Jiffy Lube’s mission statement of “Ease the Unease.” I don’t exactly know what it means, but it seems cool!

High effort leads to customer churn. Look for ways to reduce effort in your own experience in order to reduce that churn and improve loyalty.

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