The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty (Hardcover)
In their acclaimed bestseller The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and his colleagues at CEB busted many longstanding myths about sales. Now they’ve turned their research and analysis to a new vital business subject—customer loyalty—with a new book that turns the conventional wisdom on its head.
The idea that companies must delight customers by exceeding service expectations is so entrenched that managers rarely even question it. They devote untold time, energy, and resources to trying to dazzle people and inspire their undying loyalty. Yet CEB’s careful research over five years and tens of thousands of respondents proves that the “dazzle factor” is wildly overrated—it simply doesn’t predict repeat sales, share of wallet, or positive wordof-mouth. The reality:
Loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service.
If you put on your customer hat rather than your manager or marketer hat, this makes a lot of sense. What do you really want from your cable company, a free month of HBO when it screws up or a fast, painless restoration of your connection? What about your bank—do you want free cookies and a cheerful smile, even a personal relationship with your teller? Or just a quick in-and-out transaction and an easy way to get a refund when it accidentally overcharges on fees?
The Effortless Experience takes readers on a fascinating journey deep inside the customer experience to reveal what really makes customers loyal—and disloyal. The authors lay out the four key pillars of a low-effort customer experience, along the way delivering robust data, shocking insights and profiles of companies that are already using the principles revealed by CEB’s research, with great results. And they include many tools and templates you can start applying right away to improve service, reduce costs, decrease customer churn, and ultimately generate the elusive loyalty that the “dazzle factor” fails to deliver.
The rewards are there for the taking, and the pathway to achieving them is now clearly marked.
NICK TOMAN is senior director of research for CEB’s Sales & Service Practice and is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review.
RICK DELISI is senior director of advisory services for CEB’s Sales & Service Practice and a noted public speaker and facilitator.
CEB is the leading member-based advisory company. By combining the best practices of thousands of member companies with its advanced research methodologies and human capital analytics, CEB equips senior leaders and their teams with insight and actionable solutions to transform operations.
—DAN HEATH, coauthor of Decisive, Switch, and Made to Stick, from the foreword
“Most current customer support and customer experience improvement programs are merely replays of age-old concepts with some new terminology thrown in. The customer effort research and approach recounted here is different. It is truly the first really novel idea that I’ve heard—and implemented—in a long time. This is an approach that drives innovative, significant improvement within my teams . . . actions grounded in solid data . . . actions that yield measurable, customer-visible results that we just couldn’t achieve via other means. It really has changed the way I think about the support my team delivers.”
—DAN ROURKE, director of software support, HomeAway, Inc.
“A must-have for any true customer experience leader’s library. Matt, Nick, and Rick are the ‘MythBusters’ of customer experience, dispelling many commonly held but inaccurate beliefs around the drivers of disloyalty and delight and what will really drive true value to your business.”
—LYNN HOLMGREN, vice president, customer experience strategy, Frontier Communications
“If you are looking for one resource to keep on your desk that will bring you back to the right focus for delivering a better customer service, this is that resource.”
—CHRIS HALE, vice president, reservation services, Hyatt
“Every business is looking for the secret to creating loyal customers. This book not only builds a compelling case for effortless customer experiences being the key to loyalty, but also provides a clear road map for any business to achieve that goal. It’s a must-read!”
—DEB OLER, vice president and general manager, Grainger Brand, W. W. Grainger
“What’s brilliant about The Effortless Experience is its pragmatism, illustrated by the observation that we can easily make things worse for customers and often do more harm than good. Here is real, practical, implementable guidance to help avoid those pitfalls.”
—RICHARD JOYCE, operations director, Home Retail Group Customer Services
“The Effortless Experience provides a well-researched foundation for customer experience transformation. Reducing customer effort links the work of the service organization to the business-wide goal of increasing customer loyalty. The concepts themselves are pragmatic and actionable and this book will get you under way.”
—SUE ATKINS, head of service experience, Telecom NZ Ltd