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Dawn Richards

Simplicity is the customer’s third love language. In a world of overstimulation, simplicity is a welcome diversion. Individuals are being overloaded with decisions on a daily basis and appreciate when they don’t have to do any heavy lifting whilst interacting with a business.

The problem is that not all businesses take the time to make life simple for their customers. For example, some menu boards at restaurants can be confusing and a hungry customer being asked to do too much work to “un-confuse” himself or herself, will just defect to another restaurant that is serving simplicity alongside its menu choices.

Conversely, I remember reading a sign on an entry door that simply stated “Guide Dogs Welcome.” This sign, in its simplicity, was such a powerful departure from “Dogs Not Allowed.” Just think, welcoming owners of guide dogs and making their lives simple. What a case for customer love.

Recently, I did some in-person shopping at a retailer where the layout was simple and logical, with ample room to walk and view the merchandise with ease. It was a joy to shop in such simplicity.

Decision simplicity is a huge leverage point for the modern day customer and businesses should embrace every opportunity to remove barriers to delivering a simple and effortless experience.

Establish a bank of first responders who are technical support officers.

A good start to making the customer journey simple, would be to ensure that the first point of contact is also the first point of resolution, so that the customer will hardly need to be transferred beyond the first responder. The person who answers the telephone or responds to the email must be so knowledgeable, that all questions are answered on-spot and all requests are resolved via that one point of contact. This spares the customer the need to pass through multiple gateways, gatekeepers and final resolvers. It’s almost as if the business assigns a personal attendant to each customer. Customers want businesses that solve their problems via a simple customer journey.

Businesses are expected to deliver on their promise and to do so with the minimum of difficulty to the customer. Think about how happy a customer becomes when he or she realises that the complex procedure that was anticipated, actually turns out to be a very simple, transparent activity with a minimum of steps. Simple customer journeys save the customer time, effort, money and his or her sanity.

All businesses that are loved by their customers have one characteristic in common. They spend copious amounts of time and energy determining how to simplify every point along the customer journey. They ask if the welcome procedure at the reception desk is as simple as possible, if their forms are too long, if the website is user friendly, if their digital tools simplify the experience and if instructions are transparent. They are driven by the deep desire to “un-complicate” the journey. Customers love communication that is simple and straightforward.

A company executive recently indicated that he sent out an email message to staff explaining a new procedure and received a response a few minutes later with the same procedure explained in the form of a diagram. He acknowledged that his explanation had been convoluted and accepted the indignity of the feedback, with grace. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen information being shared in multiple formats to ensure ease of understanding. Simple graphic images that run alongside text, typically have great impact. Customers who may be differently abled, appreciate signage and documentation with visual representation. At one glance, the clarity is present, ambiguity is eliminated, and no one misses the point.

Another thing, employees have to be the champions of simple communication. The customer must walk away marvelling at the ease with which an employee explained complex information in simple terms, with little jargon and without generating confusion. The ultimate simplicity is when the customer does not need to call or visit.

There is such an array of devices and digital communication tools available to businesses that, if properly harnessed and co-ordinated, would eliminate the need for customers to call. Voice messaging, SMS, apps that automatically re-order food items, automatic payment solutions, contactless payment solutions etc., all eliminate the need for customers to visit businesses.

The mandate is to eliminate customer confusion.

Decision simplicity is gold to a customer. Decision fatigue however, is real and undesirable. Customers actually want to enjoy the experience when they conduct business. The businesses that will thrive in the future will be those that understand the need to edit out the noise of complexity, to eliminate the overcomplicated touchpoints and to maintain a relational journey that has been simplified to its core.

As customers continue to shop socially by comparing reviews, soliciting purchasing advice via social media from peers and posting their great buys on their platforms, they will gravitate to those businesses that Keep It Simple when it comes to the buying process.

If your business isn’t in the Keeping It Simple cluster, there may still be time to pivot.