Engage Customers, Solve for Hassles, Earn Their Loyalty

Where are the hassles your customers encounter when using the product or service you provide regardless of who they buy from AND what are the hassles they encounter when working with your organization?

I ask this because if you can solve for these issues/hassles well, you’ll go far in creating a desirable customer experience and earn customer loyalty.

You’ll notice some of these hassles in your overall journey mapping, but you can also use journey mapping to do a deep dive on each of these individual hassles to solve for them there.

For example, when I start working with a new company, I ask them and their customers – where are we inconsistent? What are the hassles you encounter when working with this company in particular or buying this product or service from anyone? Are there things about our product or company you just can’t take any more? What would drive you away from this product or company?

Recently, I came across an article by Adrian  Slywotzky in which he tells the story of the creation of Netflix. Reed Hastings had rented Apollo 13 and had a $40 late fee because he misplaced the movie cassette. He knew something must change when he considered hiding the late fee from his wife. That moment eventually led to the creation of Netflix where there were no late fees. 

Slywotzky suggests mapping your customer’s hassles should be a top business priority. I agree. As customers ourselves, we know frustrations with products and companies are maddening. Likewise, we would consider spending more money with a company that figured out how to eliminate or reduce those frustrations.

The key is to see the journey and understand the encountered hassles through the eyes of the customer.

How to find the hassles…
  • Ask customers during any conversation by phone or in person.
  • Have CSRs note and bring to the attention of management issues or things that have been stated as hassles by customers.
  • Engage your service or repair technicians to relay customer feedback and comments.
  • Online review sites.
  • Customer focus groups.
  • The best feedback comes out in conversations and sometimes it’s not the original premise or focal topic that provides the most insight.

It’s in the “By the Way” comments that customers really share information you need to know.

I will always revert to my default of having conversations with customers in their own environment.

Watching them use the product in their everyday world will often glean much information they wouldn’t think to tell us about. You’ll notice their struggles where you know there shouldn’t be any, and you may also be surprised to find things you thought would be issues actually aren’t.

Identifying the hassles gives you a perfect action plan.

Find a way to eliminate or reduce the hassle and you are already one step ahead of the competition and are endearing yourself to the customer.

Gather a few customers together and work with them.

Customers are not shy… if you invite customers into the conversation, they’ll tell you what their true needs are. Ask them for the problem statements in their lives that your company can help solve.

Co-create with customers to solve the problems they identified. Companies can learn how customers approach the problem without making the wrong assumptions. This allows the company to develop better solutions, processes, and products on the customer’s behalf.

And remember, you are working with customers who use your product or service. They are already invested with you. They’ll be honest with you to work to solve a solution. The key is to take it seriously.  Listen to what they say are hassles and act on those… not your corporate priorities.

Steps to follow…

Identify the main priorities that drive consumer behavior or frustration. In the Netflix example, quick delivery of DVDs became the main focus.

Next, quantify the cost involved for the customer and your company. What will improve the customer experience and at a cost acceptable to the company? This keeps the balance of addressing challenges your customer faces  and ROIs in tandem consideration. Also, Slywotzky reminds us when we simplify things on the consumer end, there is usually a development of more efficient processes within the organization. This often reduces operating expenses.

Like most everything else in life, business, and CX, you need to be prepared for something to change.

Customer demands, the market, demographics, technology all drive the need to stay on top of things and look for the next improvement to solve for.

Please share your thoughts and opinions here...