The concepts of “Ease” and “Simplicity” in Customer Experience


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I recently came across an advert for the SmartShopper™ 301 Grocery List Organizer which is essentially a voice recognition device that organizes your grocery shopping list. Its aim is to simplify and ease the grocery shopping process. A short review by a customer:

“The SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer is extremely easy to use and uses thermal printing much like the cash register does when it types up a sales receipt after your purchase at a store. Not only does this little innovative device record your grocery lists but it also will categorize those items enabling you to make your grocery shopping experience faster and more organized…I highly recommend this product for families on the go and for people who want a great tool to start saving on their grocery bills week in and week out.”

Many organisations hold “ease” and “simplicity” as values and goals in their customer experience delivery. A great article in the Harvard Business Review called: To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple explains the importance of keeping things simple, more specifically keeping things simple in the customer decision making process.

Using insights derived from a study conducted with more than 7,000 consumers in the U.S., the UK, and Australia using pre- and postpurchase surveys; the authors suggest that brands that scored high on their “simplicity in decision making indicator” were 86% more likely than those in the bottom quarter to be purchased by the consumers considering them. They were 9% more likely to be repurchased and 115% more likely to be recommended to others.

The example they give to describe the principle in practice is one around the marketing of two digital cameras. In a nutshell:

  • Brand A – is promoted by picking up any consumers who are searching common digital camera terms and directing them to the company website where extensive technical and feature information and 360-degree rotatable product photos, all organized and sortable by model are offered
  • Brand B- that starts by understanding where in the search process customers are likely to be and guides those in the early stages of investigation to third-party review sites (where its cameras get good marks) and directs consumers who are actively shopping to its own website. They frame technical features in nontechnical terms. Instead of emphasizing megapixels and memory, for example, it says how many high-resolution photos fit on its memory card.

While Brand A offers the same amount of information as Brand B, it does little to facilitate an easy decision. The research then suggests that customers are more likely to buy Brand B than Brand A.

Reading some of the comments to the article, it seems the authors are being interpreted to be saying: strip down information, simplify text, provide as little clicks as possible, reduce steps, Keep It Simple Stupid etc. I don’t think that is their intention although those could all be good solutions at different circumstances. The point in my view is that what the business needs to do is to understand what the decision making process of their customers is and help it flow more smoothly. In other words: what is the psychological journey your customers go through? And how are you helping them move from one to the next psychological step that leads to a purchase decision?

Ease and simplicity do not necessarily refer to the actual amount of effort or number of steps it take to get to a decision, rather the alignment between the natural customer decision making journey and the actual customer experience journey. This also implies that “simplicity” and “ease” are the overarching theme that connect touchpoints across the journey, not just a way of executing a specific touchpoint.

I suppose the bigger issue is that silos in the organisations deliver their own idea of “simplicity” and “ease”, or whatever the intended experience is. But what is really required is an alignment between the actual overall journey and the customers’ psychological journey. The greater the alignment, the better the outcome.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kalina Janevska
Kalina Janevska is a Consultant at Beyond Philosophy one of the world's first organizations devoted to customer experience. Kalina has a deep applied knowledge of Customer Experience in developing economies. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England.


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