“Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” — Oscar Wilde
I look for ease and simplicity: That is the best experience I can have.
You can attempt to give the customer great experiences…. but it is the simplicity that matters. Trying to delight the customer is very difficult and is a hit and miss action, and costs you a lot…. You have to ask, how do I give a good experience with that product… not just by its looks, not its charm, but its ease of use, its simplicity, not needing help, its working properly, ease of reaching out for help and solving problems and so forth. See Simplicity As A Core Value Of A Great Customer Experience and the article in the Harvard Business Review called: To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple .
Just remember, doing the right things in a simple fashion does not cost you as much as trying to give a great experience, when experience has been proven not to correlate to loyalty. And the cost of losing customers because things become complex.
Somewhere, someone has convinced the marketers we want more, whether it is experience, whether it is choice…I do not want customer confusion and value confusion. Take air conditioners made by any one brand, Hitachi or Panasonic or Samsung. In the 1.5 ton size , once you get past the energy efficiency rating and whether you want a split or a window unit, and whether invertor or not (so far easy to understand), there are at least 10 products with different product numbers with no explanation. and I can’t tell the difference between them from the model numbers. This is not experience, this is confusion. The numbers are different. I cannot compare what these are. I cannot tell if it is a 2020 model or a 2021 one. I cannot tell if it has single swing or dual swing without expending more time in search. Once I decide I want dual swing, I get 3 models with different numbers and prices and I have to work to find what they are. Often it is not easy to get the details. So, one lands up buying from Amazon on price!
Another example is buying a lightweight laptop. Many times, the weight is not given. How do I select? Then I get a processor of i5 7th generation or i9. How the heck am I supposed to know which is better? All to confuse me. Which is the latest processor?
They say customer beware, but if you are like me a lay customer with minimal knowledge, what do you do?
You do this by making the journey also very simple, easy to understand, easy to find, easy to buy, easy to receive, easy to service, easy to complain and get rectification. This really is the best experience you can get. I do not want a circuitous route that stops my journey or forces me to abandon my mission and perhaps a purchase. You must avoid customer value starvation and destruction.
I have managed to find people in many companies who can help me, whether it is an insurance company like Tata-AIG or HDFC Ergo; or Epson for printing, or Acer laptops and getting answers and solutions becomes easier.
Why is this the case. Are these people more in tune to help? More knowledgeable? If this is true, are we wasting time by relegating customer problems to grunt workers? People who have no knowledge and continue to say, this is our policy. Or even if you are a registered customer want to know the serial number of your air conditioner or your address when they already have it. Waste my time, waste my energy. And it wasted the company’s time, effort and money.
Don’t people realise these are value creators when you get a good experience, and that a surfeit of unnecessary experience can overwhelm you.
Certainly, I want no duplication. Same question being asked by multiple people. Was your product repaired? Was it repaired to your satisfaction? Have you ever said, no it has not been repaired to my satisfaction, does the person say they will get it rectified?
I have a Hitachi air conditioner, which every now and then starts to leak and send water down the wall. I have to get it fixed. But there is no permanent fix for an air conditioner installed only a year ago. The air conditioner is very noisy. The person comes and says there is no noise. What do I do? Where is the experience?
Some simplicity thoughts. Try to make things simple. Ask customers if they can understand what you are saying and your multiple offerings. Make it simple for them to choose your product. Make sure basic information is available and even more important, correct and up to date like contact numbers, addresses; ensure website links work. Make it easy to get more information. Do not confuse giving information to the customer with gathering information from the customer. I just went on the Pidilite company’s M-seal site. I wanted to know the different sizes the product was available in. The information did not exist on the website. I found a contact number and asked the question. I had to give them my name, telephone number, email, why I wanted to use M-seal and what my problem was and god knows what else, before the call centre person said you have to talk to our service manager in your area to get this information, as I do not have the information on product sizes. What is your pin code? I then get a number and after failing to connect a few times, I get my information. Phew!
When you make it easy for me to deal with you, you create value for me. I want to do business with you versus with someone who makes it difficult for me. Simplicity is about making it convenient for me and creating value for me and not for the seller.
The tragedy is that sometimes an easy buy may end up with a difficult to deal with product and its service. By this time, it is too late for you. And perhaps for the company because we do not get value from them and it may end up in our boycotting them!
I am sure all of you have examples to share with me.“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci