Aviva need a new metric â customer effort | DMA

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Aviva need a new metric â customer effort

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If you look in the thesaurus, the word ‘effort’ conjures up the following words that have similar meaning, none of which do anything for your stress levels - exertion, energy, sweat, struggle, labour…

Having chaired a number of conferences of late and read interviews in the marketing trade press, it feels the key word on many CMO’s lips is that of being frictionless - reducing customer effort, making it so simple that even a child could do.

But who does it best/ worst and how do you get these types of improvements past a CFO who is looking for an ROI on everything?

There are many examples of companies that have customer effort engrained in their DNA – EasyJet understood that every second their customers were not on the plane was a second too long and so they measured every customer journey and reduced the amount of time it took a passenger to go from check-in to their seat. Clearly, it is in their interests to do this in order to maximize their business model but this relentless focus on reducing customer effort has been a major factor in their share price increasing by 400% since their CEO, Carolyn McCall took over in March 2010.

Others that should be leading the pack in being frictionless are insurance companies. I recently pranged my car and then had the ‘pleasure’ of trying to make a claim. Now don’t forget my state of mind – I am stressed, I believe that this will be a painful experience and I also fear for the dreaded small print.

The good news is Aviva didn’t disappoint. The first question is – do you know your policy number? That’s 20 digits and funnily enough I don’t. Then the coup de gras. I have to give the number plate, make, model, driving licence as well as explain on 3 different occasions what happened and where. Aviva have all my personal information as they insured me, so why am I having to give it all again (several times) and then having to remind them that I qualify for an excess discount as I notified them immediately? Surely it should be the other way around?

From my experience, the best way of placing customer effort on the Executive agenda is to centre your strategy around it. If, for example, your strategy is to focus on your existing customers and to cross-sell more products & services, then reducing the amount of time it takes to sell your core products makes business sense --- then ensure that your Board have a smart objective that looks to improve the experience throughout the year with appropriate budget.

If, however, you don’t have this but do have a rottweiler of a CFO then I would suggest the following - test first and apologies later. A/B testing is standard in pretty much every company and so by creating a proof of concept, ROI can be proved in an empirical way. If you are able to deploy the test without many people knowing then so much the better. It’s not that anyone should be embarrassed about customer experience work – but a trial negates the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion talking about segments that they are not part of)!

Shop Direct will complete c.50 A/B tests a month and are looking to increase that number substantially in the next year.

If every penny is locked away, then I would suggest the following - make all the Board sign-up for their own products and services. At Barclays, we insisted that Board members open their own Current Account. Too often, the Board are isolated in their Ivory Tower and their EA/ PA does all the leg work for them, sheltering them from the issues that their customer’s are facing.

Ultimately, Marketers make reducing customer effort exceptionally difficult. It really shouldn’t be. Keep asking the same question ‘would I be happy with this as a customer?’. If the answer is ‘no’, then why would anyone else?

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