Meet Bonnie


She's the oldest member of the family (if you believe that there are 7 human years to every dog year) and her expectations have taught me some simple rules about the delivery of customer experience.

Bonnie is part King Charles Cavalier and part Bichon Frise and she has some very simple requirements. She expects her breakfast from the first person that makes it into the kitchen in the morning and she often tricks the second person into feeding her again. Bonnie expects to be fussed by anyone who comes through the front door no matter what time they arrive and whoever they are. Meet these needs or she starts to get vocal!

She knows when it's 5:30pm, and dinnertime most of the year (try explaining British Summer Time to a dog). Almost all of the time she expects immediate results. The only exception is early evening. If she hasn't been walked by 7pm she'll sit patiently by the front door waiting with her lead. I guess she might be displaying an ounce of empathy for humans who have been out all day at work or at school.

It's a simple life. Things are pretty easy for our four-legged friend. Don't we all want a simple life, where we get what we expect and we don't have to wait for it?

Getting back to the focus of this blog! Let's bring this back to customer experience and consider Daniel Kahneman's book 'Thinking fast and slow' from 2011. In this masterpiece, Daniel describes two systems at work in the brain.

System one is automatic and impulsive.
System two is very conscious, aware and considerate.

The book includes an exercise involving a bat and a ball to illustrate this point. You’re asked to calculate the cost of the ball (when you have some time you could look it up). Most people guess the wrong answer as they have used system one to answer the question – system one is automatic and impulsive (most people answer using system one – I did and so do 50% of students at Harvard, MIT and Princeton apparently) – some people use system two which is very conscious, aware and considerate and they get the right answer.

One of the key messages from this book is that our brains want an easy life. When something is too difficult, confusing or is taking far too long we often switch off and go somewhere else (a competitor). We want to use system one as much as we can. We want speed and ease. We don’t want to have to work hard to get what we want. How many times do we get annoyed when something isn’t logical or processes seem far too complex and time consuming?

Effort is an important point for other academics namely Professor Moira Clark from Henley Business School who wrote a brilliant paper about Customer Effort Score (CES). This method of measuring customer experience was featured in an article in the Harvard Business Review where it was claimed that CES outperformed the Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction measures in predicting behaviours.

CES would help businesses discover where customers thought they were applying too much effort (they were using system two of their brain) and they could make their touchpoints easier to work with.

To reinforce this point about low levels of effort. The article in Harvard Business Review claimed that 94% of the customers who reported low effort in a consumer interaction expressed an intention to repurchase and 88% said they would increase their spending. Conversely 81% of customers who had a hard time solving their problems reported an intention to spread a negative word of mouth.

Like Bonnie, we all want our expectations to be met. We all want a simple life where people give us the support and attention we need to function. If things take us too long, they are too complex or they fall short of our expectations, as humans, we’ll go elsewhere. So for all of the customer experience managers out there, please consider the basics your customers are looking for you to provide and consider their agenda always.