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on April 10, 2014
Earlier this year, I read the book The Effortless Experience by M. Dixon, N. Toman and R. DeLisi. The authors compiled some terrific research - really enlightening stuff - but in their zeal to write a provocative book that challenges conventional thinking, they've lumped every conceivable customer service action into the category of "delight" (which they translate into breathless, over-the-top service).

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book (hence the 5-star review). I just thought it got much better after Ch. 1 - where the authors worked awfully hard trying to persuade readers that "delighting" customers was somehow a poor use of their time and energy.

Perhaps you're familiar with the customer service maxim to "treat every customer as though he/she is your grandparent"? Well, I put a slightly different spin on that. I think about serving customers as I would serve any other person in my life whom I value (friends, neighbors, children, spouses...).

With this in mind, consider the following paragraph from Ch. 1:

"But as powerful and compelling as (legendary customer service) stories are, what if you checked back with those same customers a year or two down the road to see how much more business they're bringing you? Because the data shows that in the aggregate, customers who are moved from a level of `below expectations' up to `meets expectations' offer about the same economic value as those whose expectations were exceeded."

Imagine applying this logic to your marriage: "Honey, from now on I'm going to focus on meeting your expectations as opposed to exceeding them. I read this great new book called The Effortless Marriage and I'm now convinced that there's no real value to exceeding your expectations by `delighting' you with love notes, roses, and that sort of nonsense. So, what's for dinner?"

In The Effortless Experience, the authors rebuke those service providers who "delight" their customers (for example, by expressing genuine interest in them or providing them with a pleasant surprise) as misguided. Instead, the authors advocate for reducing customer effort. As most reasonable customer service professionals understand, it doesn't have to be one or the other (delight customers OR reduce customer effort). It can be both.

In fact, as a customer myself, I'm "delighted" whenever a service provider reduces the effort I have to expend during a transaction. And I'm sure I'm not alone.
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on September 12, 2013
Too often, we're solving the wrong problem! We think customers want a delightful customer service experience. We design our processes, train our people, measure them on delighting the customer. We implement self service tools, web conferencing, provide the latest in technology all in the spirit of serving the customer.

At the same time, we are trying to make our customer service organizations as cost effective and efficient as possible. So our customer service strategies are constrained, rightfully so, by our business strategies.

But is this really the right problem to be solving? Is this what customers really want. Yes, they absolutely want to be treated well, by skilled and polite people. But more then anything else, they want their problem solved---as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

And that's where we go wrong in so many cases. We are solving for the wrong problem. If we started focusing on effortless customer service experience, we would probably change everything we do. We would possibly reduce the cost of service delivery, more effectively drive customer loyalty, and so on.

This book turns much of our traditional thinking about customer service upside down. It provides data challenging old thoughts about a "delighted customer" is a loyal customer--both spending more and recommending you more.

This is a must read and think book for anyone in Customer Service. It's a must read book for every sales and marketing executive. It should stimulate everyone to question their assumptions, reframing what they do to create effortless experiences.
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on September 16, 2013
My copy of the book arrived on Friday night after a long work week, I picked it up and like The Challenger Sale, I just kept reading ... so many insights backed by exhaustive research. The book uses many B2C examples which I still found applicable to my B2B environment. The idea of minimizing customer effort in resolving issues applies to all environments -- contact center, live service - it does not matter -- we all want less "hassle" factor in our lives, at home and at work!
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on November 15, 2015
My manager "recommended" (ahem!) that I read this before my first meeting with the new "director". I went into it with a so-so attitude. I'm always happy to learn and I am really and truly invested in improving our customer experience but I get so tired of corporate games. I'm only halfway through but there's actually some good stuff in here! I've said for years that customers don't want to be "delighted"...they just want one less hassle in their day. Make their lives easier somehow and they don't care about rainbows and unicorns. You can "wow" one customer in a hundred or you can satisfy 90 in a hundred. If the opportunity to "wow" arises, great, jump on it, but there are so many things we can do every day to reduce customer effort and we need to! (I'm the QR lead at a startup software company...reviewing our CS interactions and TRYING to train agents and improve the customer experience)
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on December 21, 2013
The book was an interesting read in the beginning, pointing out useful ideas to ponder for changing the way customers are helped with product or service obstacles.

There was switch in tone however, where the authors turned the book into a self-marketing asset to promote their consulting services. For example as they stated, "regardless of whether we do this for you or you do it on your own using the tools and methods described in this book" (p. 171).

And at one point, the authors made the comment about front-line support representative , "You're corporate. They're not" (p. 195). This seemed a bit divisive.

Take a read and then judge if it was really worth the investment.
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on November 13, 2014
Any book that makes me think differently is a good book. This is one of those. For me, the first part of the book was most applicable to a small business. The latter part of the book is practical for those running larger call centers.
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on September 15, 2014
This book totally made sense to me. It so wonderfully articulates what matters most to consumers today and it appropriately puts paid to the notion of giving customers a "wow" experience, when all they want to do is to get on with their lives. Great read!
Peter Smith, Author, Hiring Squirrels
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on June 16, 2015
A must read for anyone in the Customer Service industry and trying to figure out how to reduce churn and increase loyalty. If anyone is familiar with Mathew Dixon then they will not be disappointed in this book as it ranks right up there with his other paradigm shifting insights. Stop focusing on the wrong things when measuring your customer service team and customer feedback and start creating loyal customers by creating an effortless experience for them on your website, in interactions with your support reps and getting their issue resolved.
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on June 15, 2015
If you're going to turn the sacred assumptions of customer service on their head... It had better be easy to read.

This book provides compelling and readable anecdotes to promote a basic and surprisingly simple business principle: if we reduce customers effort required to work with is, they will buy more and be happy.

Good book.
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on June 2, 2015
Great book. Covers a lot of things I have been saying for years but adds research to back up the concepts. Also includes examples that can be readily rolled out to immediately start impacting customer experience
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