Customer Experience and Effort

Time Zone Questions

I have worked remotely for years, long before it was really even considered an option.  Having worked for companies based in Europe and living in the Rocky Mountain states certainly provided some scheduling challenges, but I didn’t mind the early hours.  I recently moved three time zones further west.  I hardly noticed the difference.  

In a mentorship discussion, the individual mentioned that he really appreciated that I scheduled it based on his time zone.  It led to a deeper discussion of how I always propose times in the invitees’ time zone to make it easy for them to decide, it also leaves little room for misinterpreting the time.  

Does this add a little effort on my part?  Absolutely, but there are tools that help me. I have lived with two time zones permanently displayed on my calendar.  Scheduling apps like Calendly support me.  I also frequently use time zone converters that are available online.      

Where Do You Start Helping Your Customers

I tend to think this effort all goes mostly unnoticed, certainly it is infrequently mentioned.  However, like this case, it is nice to hear someone say they noticed and it is appreciated.  I also think of the circumstances where I have not taken these steps.  While infrequent, it seems the times where I just offered appointments in my local time zone, confusion ensued.  It sometimes would require a few iterations to get it right and occasionally someone will get frustrated.  Most often, my smaller effort up front ended up saving me time on the long run.

The lesson for me has always been pretty simple, it should not take too much effort for your customer to do business with you.  For me, the small effort of scheduling time with me is important to make it easier for my clients to meet with me.  A retailer might want to make certain their store hours are up-to-date in places a customer might reference.  Even hotels might take an extra step to let customers know of construction that might be happening during their stay that could impact any aspect of their experience.  

Little Steps Mean Big Things to Customers 

Last week on CX Forums: ConneXt Live!, I had the opportunity to discuss metrics used to capture and better understand the customer experience.  One of those discussed was Customer Effort Score.  By itself, it is just a score.  Like any customer experience metric, the score is influenced by the actions.  Don’t get me wrong, as I would advocate for the right metric for the right situation (Hint: if you watch, it isn’t always the same one).  However, when I think of Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) or even Likelihood to Repurchase, the naming convention is almost too internally facing.  I might propose one of the greater benefits of using Customer Effort Score as that it comes back to the idea: Do you make it easy for customers to do business with you?

This is not about toilet paper subscriptions, larger parking lots or free trials that convert to automatic payments on credit cards.  In fact, it might even be the opposite – can a customer easily cancel a transaction.  Perhaps put a hold on that subscription due to travel or economic circumstances.  Maybe repurpose part of the parking lot for contactless pickup.  

Ultimately, are your policies helping customers to do business with you?  Or are they to make it easier for you to get more business from them?  How much effort do they have to put in, or will you be willing to take a few small steps towards meeting them halfway?  If you aren’t willing to take some of those steps, it may be time to rethink your approach to the customer experience.  Perhaps you shouldn’t be using any of those measures and really should be deciding if the customer is really part of that continuous discovery towards making your company better – both for your stakeholders and your customers.

Call To Action

Join the next ConneXt Live! that features Priscilla McKinney.  Learn for 20 minutes and meet eight to ten new people that have similar interests in CX as you.  If you enjoyed CX Talks, this new format will prove to be even more engaging, interactive and informative. You can register here