New employees go through days of training to learn products and services. They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department. They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies. This is hours or days or sometimes weeks of training so that the employees can do their work consistently and effectively.
Customers of our companies typically go through no training. There are no half-day workshops to learn how to lodge a complaint or request a refund or ask a clarifying question or check on a status.
Customers are not and should not be expected to be experts in our business. Customers want EASY – Easy to find, easy to access, easy to understand, easy to use.
But Easy is difficult.
I once worked for an administrator in a hospital, and I noted how in certain aspects of operations, we needed to simplify some processes – make it easier on employees to deliver consistently high-quality service. The administrator responded that his peers don’t think Easy is challenging. I replied:
Making something easy is actually one of the most difficult things you can do in business.
It’s not difficult to have a new procedure or policy, a new function or feature, and just add it on top of what currently exists. It’s not difficult to just add 5 pages at the back of the standard operations manual. It’s not difficult to just let incremental complexity grow on a day-by-day and year-by-year basis.
What is difficult is taking a step back, seeing everything through the lens of a customer or an employee, and trying to make it as easy as possible for the employee to deliver great service, or as easy as possible for the customer to have a great experience.
If your organization wants a challenge that will benefit your customer, take on the challenge of Easy. Find ways to make it easier on the customer to find you or your service offerings. Make it easier for them to access the information and the solutions they need. Make the information as easy to understand as possible. And once they are accessing that product or service, make it as easy as possible to use.
If you need a challenge for the new year, try to make it Easy on the customer.