It’s Tax Day in the United States, a day that causes dread for millions of Americans (at least those not receiving a hefty refund). But many consumers feel as though they are being “taxed” by the companies with which they do business every day.
In addition to meaning “to levy a tax on,” the verb tax also means “to make onerous and rigorous demands on,” according to Merriam-Webster. And many companies do indeed “make onerous and rigorous demands on” their customers.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to improve customer experience and customer satisfaction scores is to remove pain points throughout the customer journey. Often these pain points are small things that cause big headaches, so removing them makes a significant difference.
Here are five ways to stop taxing your customers:
1. Reduce clicks and taps wherever possible. If it takes three clicks to find something on your website, see if there is a way to reduce it to two, one or even none. Discover Card used to require two clicks for customers to see their recent transactions, but website data showed that to be the number one reason for logging in. The credit card company responded by bringing the most recent transactions forward to the home page, so customers could see them without having to click at all. The result was a surge in customers logging in and then logging out without clicking on anything – bad news for an e-commerce company but good news for a service company – and increased customer satisfaction scores.
2. Stop making it difficult to contact Customer Service. Whether it’s intentionally hiding phone numbers, understaffing contact centers to result in long hold times, or lengthy menus that leave customers screaming “Representative!,” many companies still make it hard to talk to a human being in Customer Service. While it’s a good idea to allow customers to self-serve and add automated help like chatbots, when a customer wants to speak with a human it is critical that he or she be able to do so in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating than yelling at a computer or robot that doesn’t understand.
3. Don’t make customers switch channels. Today’s customers expect to be serviced in the channel of their choice, not the channel of the company’s choice. Just as a call center wouldn’t tell a customer calling on the phone to please tweet instead, so too should a social care agent be willing to answer a complaint in social media and not some other channel. Not only is switching channels frustrating for customers, but today’s savvy consumer knows why you’re asking – to take the complaint to a private channel and to make it easier for the company.
4. Do the customer’s work for them whenever possible. When a customer left a negative review of a particular cat litter on Chewy.com’s website, it was just to warn other customers that the litter didn’t work well for long-haired cats. Chewy responded by immediately issuing a refund – even though one wasn’t requested – and offering four other options for litters that might work better with long-haired cats. The company saved its customer from having to spend the time searching for other litters and possibly being disappointed again.
5. Include all costs up front. The airlines have made a mockery of pricing, first with the idea to charge for checking bags and, more recently, the idea to offer lower-cost, back-of-the-plane fares with bare-bones features just so they can display “fares from” a lower price on every flight. Similarly, resort fees are cropping up at hotels in Las Vegas, New York and elsewhere as a means to charge for what was previously free – WiFi, the fitness center, etc. – and they often are not displayed as part of the nightly rate. Why frustrate customers by nickel-and-diming them for every service or hiding fees, taxes and other charges until the last minute? The better answer is to be up front and transparent; your customers will thank you.
Think about the companies that are easiest to do business with, and invariably they will be focused on the five items listed above. After all, it’s hard to feel satisfied as customer when you are busy dealing with “onerous and rigorous demands.”