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The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

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From the author of the acclaimed Wall Street Journal bestseller The Challenger Sale Conventional wisdom holds that to increase loyalty, companies must “delight” customers by exceeding service expectations. Some focus on dazzling them at the cost of neglecting to solve basic service problems-a big strategic mistake. Through extensive research and surveys, the authors have concluded that loyalty has much more to do with how well a company delivers on its basic promises than on how dazzling its service experience might be. The authors prove that delighting customers doesn't build loyalty, and they show how acting on this insight can help improve service, reduce costs, and decrease customer churn. By employing practical tactics-such as teaching reps not just to resolve customer issues but also to “forward resolve” common issues-companies will be better able to focus on delivering a nearly effortless experience. That will lead directly to the improvements in customer loyalty they had been aiming for all along.

Audio CD

First published September 12, 2013

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Rick DeLisi

3 books3 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 101 reviews
Profile Image for Cindy (BKind2Books).
1,537 reviews31 followers
July 5, 2015
Solid advice on customer service, but by the end I found myself kind of oversold. The basic premise - that customer service these days is about making it easy vs making it 'delightful' - is good and the author backs it with solid examples and studies. But I think that the book focused more on the customer 'call center' model and less on face-to-face / customer service driven areas. He does not make this applicable to the restaurant / corner pharmacy / grocery store and that's where much of this is sorely needed. Still there were a few good take-aways, even if it wasn't easy to dig them out. Perhaps the author needed to take a little of his own advice.
Profile Image for Adam Clark.
8 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2014
One of the more solid business books I've read this year. The data-based conclusions are really eye-opening. I believe this is will be considered one of the best business books on customer service and customer engagement to be written in the past 5-10 years. If you don't read this, you will have a big gap in your understanding of customer service and the reality of customer loyalty.
Profile Image for Chrisman.
337 reviews13 followers
February 26, 2019
I'm glad that it was for bookclub, because the value of this book for me was in the discussions I had with coworkers about applying these thoughts and ideas to other domains, or to things that are specific to what we do.

I 100% agree with the underlying principle, but don't think I would have gotten as much out of it on my own.
Profile Image for Keith Greywood.
14 reviews
April 6, 2017
Essential reading for those in business, especially managers, marketers and those involved with customer service. Want loyal customers? Reduce the effort of the customer at every touchpoint.

Profile Image for Angela Lam.
314 reviews18 followers
May 9, 2021
The essence of the book is this: customer service doesn’t drive loyalty, and it’s more important to reduce customer effort.

This is probably the best book I've read on customer service because:
1. It's backed by hard data
2. It's clearly structured with clear research findings + practical how-to tips and examples (even though this is a relatively new approach so the strategies/examples are not always very robust. there's still a load of practical stuff that can be used immediately by any company)
3. As a business owner and customer, I can really identify with the recommendations in the book. Every other CS book tells me fluffy stuff like why it's important to "wow" the customer and "go the extra mile"....the findings in this book rings true for me and I agree that as a customer, I sometimes just want things to be smooth and effortless .

BUT I feel that the bulk of the book's research and examples are focused on CS in the context of SERVICE RECOVERY, i.e. when customers contact you to resolve an issue. For people looking at service from a broader perspective, i.e. crafting a service experience as part of a wider USP, this book does NOT address it.

Because of that, I should've given the book 4*
But because it's soooohard to find really good CS books (and because the ideas were really useful), I'm giving it 5*

The book starts with 4 surprising research findings:
• It doesn’t pay to delight customers. Customers whose expectations were exceeded were only marginally more loyal than those whose expectations were met.
• Satisfaction doesn’t predict loyalty.
• Customer service interactions are 4x more likely to drive disloyalty than loyalty. [This is linked to my observation above that "CS" in this book seems to be used interchangeably with call-center services]
• Out of 5 main drivers of disloyalty, 4 had to do with customers' perceived effort to get their issue resolved. So, a key to reducing disloyalty is to reduce customer effort.

The rest of the book address how to go about creating and implementing an effortless experience.
It talks about the 4 pillars for reducing customer effort
• Make self-service easy and sticky
• Minimize repeat calls with “next issue avoidance”
• Reduce customers' perceived effort.
• Give reps more control over customer interactions.

Each of these 4 pillars came with really good tips/insights which I feel are the best part of the book
This is followed by a bunch of less impressive/comprehensive points about implementation. Granted, the authors caveat that the whole concept of an effortless expreinece is still relatively new so there aren't that many proven implementation frameworks yet.

Still, I'd highly recommend this for any one with responsibilities in customer service, business development or even sales and marketing.

Book summary at: https://readingraphics.com/book-summa...
44 reviews
August 25, 2019
Really a 4.5. I expected to hate this book. I almost wanted to hate it. I don’t like consultants and I’m usually very suspect of the books they publish because they’re typically a long sales pitch. This book didn’t fall into that trap. It also didn’t fall into business book trap of stretching a 25 page point over 200 pages. Each chapter typically offered something new and added value to their central thesis. I also thought it was going to all about selling the metric but as I was thinking “it’s only a question” they wrote “it’s only a question” and empathized the principal instead of a metric. Overall a must read for anyone involved in customer experience, especially those involving call centers.
Profile Image for Sara.
94 reviews1 follower
November 5, 2019
Insightful book based on the premise that the idea of “delighting the customer” is a fool’s errand for most organizations to chase. The truth is most users of your product don’t want to have to reach out for help or to troubleshoot; they just want it to work. This book covers strategies to diagnose where you are inflicting high amounts of customer effort and what you can do to reduce it. Enjoyed this book!
April 29, 2020
I picked this book on the assumption that it would talk about customer buying experience. But, to my surprise ( or lack of proper research), I found that this book was only about after-purchase customer service experience. Hence, I started this book with not much involvement, but only to find myself pleasantly surprised with great insights into nuances of customer service experiences. The are many seemingly simple yet powerful insights discussed in the book.
1) customers are quick to punish bad service than to reward them for good service
2) Impact of customer service on loyalty (Satisfaction is not predictor of loyalty)
3) First Contact Resolution- channel switching efforts-Next issue avoidance (forward Resolve)
4) we pick companies bcos of their product but leave them bcos of their service failures
5) Customer Effort score
6) Experience Engineering - Advocacy (provide recommendation to customers), Positive language( resisting the use of words like "no", "can't"), Anchoring (positioning a given outcome as more positive and desirable by comparing it to another less desirable one)
7) The role of "Control Quotient" skills in Service reps' success; CQ - Resilient, Takes responsibility of own action, Responds well to constructive criticism (QTIP - Quit Taking It Personally), Able to concentrate on tasks over extended periods of time.
8) Quickly bucketing customers into one of the 4 personalities and tailoring the responses accordingly a) Controller (Result- oriented) b) Enetertainer (social-oriented) c) Thinker (Process-Oriented) d) Feeler (Empathy-Oriented)
63 reviews
January 16, 2014
This is your classic business book, where you learn everything you need to know in the first chapter and the rest of the book is examples, reinforcement, and additional detail.

The central premise of the book, that customer loyalty has everything to do with being easy to work with and not necessarily "going above and beyond", is a helpful clarification for most companies. This book focuses on Contact Centers, while the last chapter shows examples of how to apply this to other environments.

I'll admit that the classic business book approach is not great for me personally as I tend to zone out when author's repeat/reinforce points they have already made. However, particularly for people who are involved with customer service and/or contact centers, the central premise of the book is valuable. As customers have transitioned away from personal contact to web-based and self-help, customer service approaches need to evolve to match.
Profile Image for Alaeddin Hallak.
157 reviews22 followers
January 11, 2016
This is some truly groundbreaking stuff in thinking about customer loyalty and customer experience! Backed by extensive research from all around the world, the author effectively make the case of reducing customer effort in order to mitigate customer disloyalty. They emphasize that this is not the latest fad in customer service, but a complete cultural shift that, when executed right, can have great impact on an organization's bottom line. Highly recommend this book for anyone involved in customer service, product design, or even intending on starting their own business.
Profile Image for Brian Nicholson.
14 reviews2 followers
July 24, 2016
The Effortless Experience provides solid research supporting the pursuit of reducing customer effort as a way to drive loyalty. Much of the research and advice is focused on customer service, although reducing customer effort applies more broadly than that (as at least one chapter addresses). The authors make a good case for using CES (customer effort score) as a way to measure transactional relationship data, even if your company is already using something like NPS (net promoter score) for measuring overall relationship data.
Profile Image for Daryl.
570 reviews5 followers
February 2, 2018
There was a lot of good information in this book, though it wound up being a bit drier than I had expected after reading the first few pages. It's obviously not for everybody. I'd recommend it for most anybody who's in the position of trying to figure out how to make products easier to use and support. I don't think I'm likely to run out and insist that my company shift its quality metrics to a Customer Effort Score system (what the book touts), but there were many things in the book that did make me think "we should do that."
Profile Image for Tim.
537 reviews
June 7, 2014
Depending on your wants and needs this book might be everything you need in the moment (or more), or not so much. In my case, I found it extremely valuable in regards to a current problem where FCR is an issue. We won't be moving away from that metric but I think we will improve our scores (and performance).
Profile Image for Theodore Kinni.
Author 12 books31 followers
January 20, 2016
Love the thesis here: Forget about delighting customers. If you want their business, make it effortless for them to give it to you. Simple and smart!
Profile Image for Ana Claudia Santos-Cortez.
146 reviews20 followers
February 1, 2021
The only reason I ain’t giving this book a 5-star rating is because I’m confident it didn’t explore the full potential of assessing experience in a more broad range of services and products. It focuses on contact center strategy and operations - which I absolutely understand since that was the forum assessed in the groups selected for the research - but two or three chapters extrapolating how such learnings could impact strategy in product companies would be the cherry on top of the cake.
I’m just sorry to not seeing more examples like the Apple stores one.

A very insightful book with representative data on what makes customers more loyal to a company considering both its product and service provided by front line agents.

Language and presentation can easily be understood by professionals that do not work, yet, directly in customer experience or service, as the authors put effort in explaining complex concepts as simple ones.

Personally I’ve learned from the book a few ideas on how to challenge my own management work and I’m confident others will take insights as well.
27 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2022
super easy read with a lot of great points about why customer service should focus on making things easy. as a person in the industry working for a company that has based their care department on these principles, I found that there was little in the text that I didn't already know, though it's worth noting that the book was published in 2013 when the approach to customer service was much different across the industry. still, it was nice to have these ideas reinforced with data and examples to help back them up, and I feel better equipped to make informed decisions about coaching and QA within the company.

as a general critique of the book, there were lots of unnecessary charts that took simple figures from the text and made them into bar graphs. I'm not a particularly data-driven person; I have very little experience reading data or presenting it in a way that clearly communicates what it means. But this data was usually elementary and the only thing that I appreciated about the charts and graphs was that they broke up the text with some fun pictures lmao
Profile Image for Eduardo Xavier.
112 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2019
When it comes to customer services, you're going to hear a lot about delight customer. Mathew Dixon present his empirical quantitative research showing numbers that would change out vision about this and focus on customer engagement by mitigating risk of disloyalty. He explores and explain numbers and services scenarios, describing what irritates customers, take our attention to he calls the Next Issue Avoidance, which is about being proactive, taking measures understand people, treat them with principles and positive languages. He delves into experience engineering which reminds something between of being proactive and persuasive. He shows off techniques to do that, also samples and good framework to start anew.
I really enjoy this work because of my context at moment, it has a kind of general view but also present a practical path in order to fit as guidance.
I do recommend to any who never had to deal about build a customer service yet.
Profile Image for Jacek Bartczak.
196 reviews59 followers
September 26, 2021
This is the 3rd book written by M. Dixon:
- "The Challenger Sale" was about changing how potential clients view his problem,
- "The Challenger Customer" was about helping the client dealing with his customer buying process,
- "The Effortless Experience" is about reducing effort connection with product/service.

The book about customer service. About that kind of customer service who deals with inquiries like "my internet connection is not working" or "I cannot log in to my account" - rather simple repeatable issues. 

Some thoughts are applicable in "deeper" customer service as well - wherever some kind of relationship between company and client / potential client appears:
- delight your customers ---> reduce effort connected with your product/service,
- "No, it is not possible" ---> "in your case, the best option is...",
- "be nice" ---> find a way to help your client,
- "solve customer issue" ---> help client avoids next issue.

60 reviews17 followers
April 18, 2019
Highly Recommend. I enjoyed the inspiring perspective, good structure and practical guidance in this book.

"Let Numbers speak" is an impressive characteristic of this book. Those numbers challenge the common belief that customer loyalty is driven by exceeding customer expectations. Analysed with data statistics, Matthew Dixon offered an inspiring perspective of realizing customer loyalty, which could redefine the service philosophy and the role of customer service. “the role of customer service is to mitigate disloyalty by reducing customer effort.” Customers want effortless experience. Besides the convincing findings of customer loyalty, author also gave advices on tactical techniques.
84 reviews8 followers
March 14, 2021
Fairly good book, of similar quality to others made by CEB.

Data-backed model that shows customer service controls disloyalty and all the feel-good stories about customer service reps doing extraordinary things not only don't help much the bottom line, but are hard to train the reps for.

Instead, the authors propose Effort as the key component in maintaining loyalty. Is it easy to deal with your company? Do customers need to switch channels often, e.g. starting on web but having to call? Do customers get transferred to multiple people?

The first 65% of the book were strong and had lots of good insight. The rest, I found a bit muddled in jargon, or spending pages and pages trying to back up earlier statements, which I found obvious and trusted the authors with.
Profile Image for Chad Horenfeldt.
36 reviews4 followers
October 8, 2017
Essential reading for anyone in customer support. I came away with it having ideas for the overall customer success function. I believe there is too much emphasis placed on delighting the customer then trying to get the outcomes that drive real value. “Delight” only goes so far. I found the book to have tactical approaches that make compete sense. This isn’t an easy read but they do try by adding great examples. The book also ties the concepts together well at the end. The last chapter helps you think about how to apply these concepts beyond the call center.

I would also give this to your support managers as well.
Profile Image for Mike Trigg.
Author 2 books26 followers
May 17, 2020
I'd put this up there with Matthew Dixon's previous book, the Challenger Sale. This book is equally thought provoking and disruptive to conventional wisdom for customer service leaders as the Challenger Sale was to sales leaders. Though probably not as interesting as a general business book, The Effortless Experience presents a new and compelling way of thinking about how to drive customer loyalty by minimizing the "effort" (measured by "Customer Effort Score") it requires to do business with your company. Great read for anyone responsible for customer service/support/success/experience in their organization.
Profile Image for Stephanie Alexis.
49 reviews5 followers
August 22, 2017
As someone who is new to the philosophy of reducing customer effort, The Effortless Experience was such a valuable read. I appreciate how the authors used concrete statistics, real-life case studies, and plain language to explain the value of focusing reducing effort and helping customers serve themselves. Highly recommended to those entering the customer service industry and want to make a difference for the organization they're working with.
66 reviews
October 21, 2017
Many good insights for customer service leaders and managers. The authors do a great job of capturing the changing nature of customer or client expectations - and how organizations need to react. They begin the book by saying that client delight is the wrong goal (which I disagree with). My sense is they make this point more to get attention as the remainder of the book outlines many worthwhile strategies on how to train customer service teams to delight customers.
Profile Image for JP.
1,153 reviews38 followers
April 29, 2019
Backed by a plenitude of research and experience, this book is on its own a worthy response to the belief that a culture of delighting clients is the secret to business success. The authors show how making experiences easier is what is a actually paramount. The also show how framing the expectations around the experience can help, even in cases where it's hard or impossible to further improve the experience itself.
Profile Image for Nathan.
330 reviews
August 7, 2020
The premise of the book, that minimizing customer effort is key to building loyalty, is a sound one. Certainly, the book makes you stop and reevaluate assumptions concerning customer service.

My one complaint is that it focuses almost exclusively on call centres. Yet, the information contained is fairly easily extrapolated, so I still recommend this book to those looking to increase their level of customer loyalty and service.
Profile Image for Justin Melloni.
11 reviews1 follower
December 5, 2017
We picked up this book because we are setting up a Customer Support Portal and thought it might help. It gave some good insight, but it seems more like it is oriented to people running a Call Center. It was a little longwinded in trying to get to it's point which is that you want to give the customer a low effort experience. Overall, it was an alright read.
9 reviews1 follower
May 10, 2018
The Effortless Experience

Great read. Simple, concise, and chock full of examples and anecdotal evidence. A practical explanation for customer behavior. A pleasant excursion from theory and opinion. Yes these principles are evolutionary and may take significant time and energy, but they are borne out by data.
Profile Image for Tyler Dick.
12 reviews
May 12, 2018
Definitely a good read if you are working or managing a Support center. It gives a counter-argument to the idea of "delighting" customers. The best way we can delight a customer is by making their interaction as easy as possible rather than investing in what we do or say to those customers. Definitely a great idea, with some very valuable lessons.
Profile Image for Calin.
33 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2019
I couldn't finish it. It's not that I don't agree with what the authors write or the theories presentated in the book. It was just painful to go through; is not friendly written and it takes a lot of pages to get to the point. I felt I'm wasting my time and my concentration was flying away that's why after half way point I just gave up.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 101 reviews

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