Customer Experience: Keep it Simple Stupid

by Colin Shaw on October 1, 2015

If you had the choice of doing something the easy way or the hard way, and you didn’t have to do anything morally, ethically, or legally wrong to do it the easy way, which would you choose? My guess is the majority of you would say take the easy way. I certainly would.

When it comes to brands and their related experience, it’s critical that you KISS it. In other words, Keep It Simple Stupid.

The truth is most Customers want things easy, too. According to Siegel and Gale, a branding firm specializing in simplicity, Customers like brands that have simplicity as a key value.

After talking to over 12,000 respondents in eight different countries, they discovered there are four main reasons that simplicity is important to your brand.

  1. It’s more expensive to be complex.  When an experience is complex, people gravitate toward the high-cost channels, i.e., the call center.
  2. Customers value simplicity enough to pay more for it. Of those surveyed, 38% of them said they would pay more for a simpler experience.
  3. Customers are more likely to recommend you to someone else when you keep it simple. The vast majority, 70% of respondents said they were more likely to recommend a brand with a simple experience.
  4. Simple works for your bottom line. Looking at data since 2009, the portfolio including the simplest brands outperformed the major indexes by 170%.

Their findings are clear: Simple is where it’s at as it pertains to brands. And I would argue, simple is where it’s at as it pertains to the experience you provide for your brand as well.

Getting Your Brand Experience Back to Simple

Ask yourself this question: What is the brand experience you want to deliver? Do you know? If you were to go and ask your colleagues would they?

We ask these questions a lot. The surprising bit is the vast majority of the people at the organizations we help do not know the answer. Although, to be fair, there are times when they do know the answer—it’s just that everyone knows a different answer.

Knowing ONE answer is key to building a brand with an excellent experience. We call this answer a Customer Experience Statement, (CES) or a specific articulation of the experience your brand wants to deliver. Furthermore, as we know over 50% of the Customer Experience pertains to how a Customer feels, this statement should include specific emotions the Customer will feel during and after the experience with your brand.

However, we also want a strategy that drives value and provides a return to the bottom line. It is a business after all!

Based on the research undertaken by Siegel and Gale, simplicity to the experience drives much value to the bottom line. So when setting the strategy, simple should be a part of all brand conversations. The fact is, Customers are demanding—getting more so all the time—and they are demanding simple experiences. However, if you meet their simple demands, they reward you with word of mouth advertising, the gold standard for Brands.

So adding simple to your CES is paramount for brands today. Also paramount is the acceptance of simple as a value by the senior team because simple has implications (read: costs).

You need to design your brand to give people a simple experience. At the end of any experience with you, people should say their experience was easy. To evoke this response, you need to research it with an outside-in approach, design it with the goal in mind, implement it with a mind for change, and reward those who embrace it. Fail to do so, or fail to KISS it—you might simply kiss some of your loyal people goodbye.  

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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

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