Why Simplicity is Key to CX

Mention customer experience (CX) to C-Suite executives, and you’ll often be met with fevered excitement as they describe all the innovations they’re planning to improve it. Yet, while new technology has a key role to play in transforming CX, its primacy in the thinking of business leaders can often obscure a far more powerful tool: simplicity.

At its core, good CX is about making customers’ lives easier. Many people mistake this for being synonymous with added complexity or functionality in how customers interact with your brand, but it doesn’t have to be. We all live frenetic, complicated lives as it is, and sometimes the best approach is simply making a customer process smoother, easier, or faster.

Furthermore, simplicity might even be good for business. According to Siegel + Gale’s 2017 Global Brand Simplicity Index, 64% of consumers will pay more for simpler experiences and 61% are more likely to recommend a brand because it’s simpler to use. Additionally, the stock portfolio of companies from these simpler brands outperformed major stock indexes by 330%.

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CX Simplicity in Practice

Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. In fact, it’s often hard to pull off well. But look around you and some of the brands most ubiquitous in modern living are those harnessing simple CX—this is no coincidence.

Take Amazon’s “one-click” purchase as an example, it’s incredibly simple but adds immeasurable value to the customer experience—essentially placing a world of products at the user’s fingertips. There’s nothing flashy or contrived about it, but it answers a real customer need: easy ordering of online shopping whenever and wherever it’s needed.

Or, how about supermarket Aldi, winner of the Siegel + Gale Global Brand Simplicity Index for the third year running. Something of an underdog in a global industry dominated by Tesco and Walmart, Aldi won the award for simply providing its customers with “clear, uncomplicated offers.”

Another great example is smart banking app Monzo. After identifying the two major banking pain-points for the smartphone generation as difficulty tracking spending and charges for using debit cards abroad, Monzo came up with a surprisingly simple solution. In short, they created an app which tracks spending in real-time, sending push notifications to the user’s smartphone each time the card is used and producing reports on spending­—for example, how much the user has spent this month on eating out. In addition to this, they waived transaction fees for use of the card anywhere in the world.

While simple, this approach perfectly captures the zeitgeist towards conventional banking. Many under 40s are worried about money and find it difficult to track spending—with some payments taking as long as 4 days to show up in an account, often resulting in unwittingly going overdrawn. What’s more, it cleverly plays into modern preferences for overseas travel by removing the need to pay charges on withdrawals or card usage.

Simply by listening to what their contemporaries were saying about banking, Monzo’s founders have created a simple, frictionless customer experience that sets their business apart. Finding and isolating these simple little things that differentiate your business from the competition is often the first step towards great CX. 

How Not to Do it

In a recent post, we discussed the sad demise of former high street giant Blockbuster, due in large part to their refusal to focus on CX or evolving customer behaviours and preferences. Part of Blockbuster's problem was their focus on diversifying—and complicating—the customer experience by adding video games and blu-ray to their offering when all the signs were pointing towards a simpler roadcustomers growing preference for digital streaming services.

Blockbuster isn’t alone in prioritising complexity over simplicity, another great example is the policy of many telecoms providers. In reality, what most consumers want from their telecoms provider is reliable coverage, speedy installation, and the simple resolution of any issues that arise. However, what they often get, is long lead times for installation, a maze of obfuscation when dealing with call centres, and overzealous customer service teams trying to sell them the latest broadband or on-demand TV innovations rather than addressing service issues.

Much of this is down to many telecoms provider’s myopic focus on driving innovation, boosting profits, and expanding market share, all the while losing sight of the customer experience. What’s perhaps most frustrating is that good telecoms CX is entirely possible, it would just require a focus on the simple things that drive great CX: good customer service, speedy resolution of problems, and customer friendly interaction.

How Can Organisations Get It Right?

So far, we’ve lauded simplicity in CX and, while its merits are fairly obvious, many organisations struggle to identify the simple things they could tweak to vastly improve CX. So where do you start?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the first step to any attempt to improve CX should be customer journey mapping.

After all, how can you map out pain-points and areas in a customer’s journey that could benefit from simplification if you aren’t aware of what that journey entails?

Creating and using a customer journey map can be invaluable in helping you better understand your customers and experiencing the journey they take, through their eyes. This gives you vital insight, not just into your customers’ needs, but also where you’re going wrong and where improvements could be made.

Part of the difficulty with simplicity is that it’s often difficult to recognise if you’re immersed in the day-to-day operations of an organisation. In helping you see things the way your customers do, customer journey mapping can effectively help you approach CX with a fresh set of eyes, often resulting in fresh insights to match.

At VASSIT, we're experts in helping organisations deliver sparkling CX, and we firmly believe that any attempt to improve the customer experience must begin in one place: with the customer. To get started on creating a customer experience that drives results for your business download our introduction to customer journey mapping

Introduction to Customer Journey Mapping