CX as a profession is putting a lot of effort into reducing effort (pun intended). With good reason: too many companies make it so hard for customers to do business with them, that customers are super frustrated and give up.

But reducing effort is not the road to CX differentiation (see below). Which means companies that want to differentiate their CX need to rethink effort or ease as a CX metric.

My wonderful colleague Anjali Lai, conducted new and exciting research (PAYWALL) using Forrester’s Customer Experience Index data. Anjali found that:

  • Quick and simple functions are not enough to retain consumers — instead, they can weaken the quality of CX. Anjali also points to studies (Non-Forrester log in required) that found that ease does not necessarily breed product affinity like many assume. Instead, companies often misinterpret the positive emotions associated with “easy” experiences as a consumer enjoying the product or service.
  • While digital and automated brand interactions trigger positive consumer emotions like happiness and delight, individuals are still most likely to feel valued — one of the most powerful, loyalty-inducing emotions — when participating in an exchange with another person.
  • Ease, speed, and convenience alone are not enough to build an emotionally resonant experience that develops consumer loyalty. Before striving for a completely effortless experience, marketers and CX pros should consider whether an easy interaction makes consumers feel valued by leaving them with a sense of meaning, purpose, and validation.

And that’s crucial when selecting CX metrics. The way that I think about ease (or effort) is as a transition metric. It is a good rallying cry for companies who are making it very hard to do business with them currently. But these same companies will then need to move on to more emotionally driven metrics. Only with those will these firms be able to measure how successful they are in fostering the sense of meaning, purpose, and validation that our customers crave.

If you want to discuss, let me know. I’d love to chat!