A new survey from Support.com, a cloud-based provider of customer service and technical support for consumer technology brands, brings to light one aspect of the customer journey with an often hidden impact on loyalty: the amount of effort the customer must exert in order to achieve a desired customer service outcome. While the survey focuses on the consumer technology sector, the impact of customer effort on consumer relationships in general is something most of us could stand to keep more top of mind.
Customer effort has been gaining a lot of attention recently as a way to assess customer satisfaction and understand its effect on customer loyalty. The Support.com report shows that the consumer abandonment rate of technology products increases as the customer effort exerted in different interactions with the brand becomes too high.
A survey of over 2,200 U.S. consumers explored the levels of customer effort required in different stages of the customer journey from consideration and purchase to setup, troubleshooting and upgrade with technology products. The survey report, titled "Customer Effort And The Direct Impact On The Brand Relationship," uncovered the following key issues and consumer insights:
- Troubleshooting technical product issues is the most challenging part of the customer experience, but the diverse expectations of support preferences lacks consensus on the best approach.
- Nearly 60% of consumers say that combined, setup/installation and troubleshooting with tech support is the most challenging part of their customer journey and requires the most effort.
- Customers might be willing to invest more time and effort for high-ticket technology products, but their tolerance for a complicated customer experience is low regardless of price.
- If a product costs over $200, 72% of consumers will spend more than one hour researching their purchase.
- If a product costs less than $200, 87% of consumers will return the product within a week if the product set up and installation was too difficult.
- Regardless of price, more than half of consumers (52%) are willing to put some amount of effort in to engage with support, whether it is through assisted support via interaction with a support agent (31%) or unassisted support via a self-service experience (21%).
- Customer effort has a direct business impact on brand loyalty and revenue growth, especially when it comes to technology products and customer support.
- Sixty four percent of consumers will stop purchasing products from a brand altogether if they find it too difficult to interact with a certain technology brand.
Money quote from Alex Poulos, VP of Marketing and Customer Success at Support.com:
�The survey findings are a clear call to action for product and service organisations to invest in measuring customer effort and better understanding their customers� challenges. It is no longer viable for companies to count on brand loyalty as an incentive for customers to put more effort into a particular tech product or service. No matter how much customers like your brand, they shouldn�t have to work to love your products."
To read the entire set of survey data, download the Support.com survey here.