“Making Low Effort Stick”
Reducing customer effort represents a cultural shift in how your team engages with customers and how you’ll prioritise the projects you undertake. But while it’s easy to say, any shift of this nature is difficult to accomplish, mainly because change in a large organisation can be an arduous undertaking.
Taking First Steps
Have a compelling ‘change story’ to communicate Why the change is needed, and make the business case of change. It then becomes the backbone of all communication, training, coaching and general reinforcement.
The most Important Change Agents
Focusing efforts on Coaching instead of Training.
Coaching is —
- Focusing on improving future performance
- Equally driven by coach and coachee
- Tailored to individual’s development needs
Two types of Coaching tends to occur-
a) Scheduled coaching – sit-down discussions with supervisor to review calls, discuss performance and take corrective action. This might be more punitive than developmental. Over-emphasizing on this type of coaching leads to lower-performing teams.
b) Integrated Coaching – On-the-job coaching, in close proximity to specific customer situations that the coaching is designed to improve. Supervisors who over-emphasize this type of coaching realise a lift of more than 12% in their team’s performance.
The best supervisors focus roughly 75% of their coaching on integrated coaching.
Make It Real
Use creative approaches to help teams quickly understand what qualifies as more or less effort for the customer.
>Sharing of personal customer experiences – Have teams share bad customer service experiences from their personal lives.
>Group quality assurance sessions– Prescreen old customer calls and discuss high effort instances to build awareness and socialise the idea of customer effort reduction.
>Customer Effort Diaries – Get together and share their specific stories – capture specific instances when each person felt they did a great job of reducing effort.
Key Lessons from Early Adopters
Don’t make Effort Reduction another ‘Ask’
Reducing the no. of things frontline staff are being asked to focus on means that they can make effort reduction more of a priority, not just another ask.
The commitment to reducing effort, and the permanence of that approach, needs to become a shift in expectations, not just a new expectation added to the top of the pile.
“In order to get new behaviours to take hold, old behaviours have to be retired”
- Start with a small number of ways to reduce effort to make the shift more tangible to your teams.
- This way, people know precisely what to do, and they develop a more refined sense for how effort reduction works.
- Supervisors also have a finite set of behaviours to coach for.
Narrowly scope initial pilot expectations for your teams. This may include forward-resolving a specific type of service issue, or using positive language techniques for some common issues.
Lay the Cultural Foundation
Effort reduction is not a quick-hit project. It is service philosophy.
Reducing effort is an ongoing challenge you will need to continuously support.
You need lots of top-down communication, good manager and supervisor support, and the right metrics.
Your priorities should be a great change story, significant coaching discipline, and clearly signalling the expectation that a low-effort experience should be the goal with every customer.
Making it easy for your teams to take the first steps towards reducing effort will ensure your likelihood of success!