It can be tempting to offer your potential and existing customers a vast amount of products, solutions, services, content, and information all at once, but relevance and simplicity are always the best options to boost actual customer value and loyalty. To guide you in what it takes to build a customer experience that's smooth and simple, I suggest four approaches to ensure simplicity:
Decide and communicate what simplicity means to your company.
Build a simple customer journey.
Encompass internal complexity to achieve external simplicity.
Remember that simplicity isn't always the answer.
The modern B2B customer faces hundreds of choices every day. What to read, where to purchase and what to buy, and each of those decisions takes a mental toll. However, companies continue to increase the amount of choices, product features, content and possibilities.
To invest in new solutions that create value for the customer is a good idea, but simplification is the best strategy across the board. An overwhelming majority of studies claim that simplicity is a top priority for customers. Brands that are perceived as providing the most straightforward, seamless experiences generate the most customer loyalty.
But simplicity is easier said than done. Here, you and your company find four interrelated steps that can help you deliver the smooth and effortless buyer experience that potential and existing customers demand.
Decide and communicate what simplicity means
Building a simplified customer experience starts with deciding what 'simple' means for your company. Simplicity has many aspects, such as creating a 'less is more' mindset in R&D, sales, and marketing, reducing complexity in offerings and price structures, and providing clear communication. Each company must determine the areas that would benefit most from simplification, depending on their unique contexts and circumstances.
Once you've identified those top-priority areas, the company leadership needs to communicate them. This means emphasising the importance of simplicity to your company's value proposition, corporate values, and guiding principles — and to make sure that people connect with and act on these words. A nice-sounding value statement only means something if people take it to heart.
Build a simple customer journey
Focusing on the offering is essential, but it's equally necessary to focus on the entire customer experience. This includes designing your sales and marketing processes to make it as easy as possible for prospects to find, purchase, and start using your products, solutions and services. To make sure you're prioritising effortless simplicity throughout the potential and existing customers buyer and decision journeys, begin by asking yourself these four questions:
How can we make it easier for potential and existing customers to understand and evaluate our offering?
How can we create targeted content that speaks to customers in their language, at the time and place where it is most effective?
How can we make our pricing models more transparent and consistent?
How can we optimise automated recommendations and suggestions to create a frictionless purchasing experience?
These are just four examples, but there are many more questions you can ask to simplify the potential and existing customers' buyer journeys. Whether you consolidate similar products into a single offering or invest in convenient digital payment methods, anything you can do to reduce your customers' mental pressure will improve their experience and perception of your company.
Encompass internal complexity to achieve external simplicity
Prioritising simplicity in the customer experience doesn't mean you can eliminate the complexity internally. On the contrary, to winnow down your offering to its most simple form can often be incredibly complex.
To figure out what your potential and existing customers actually want is a complicated process — but it's also fun. To build the most valuable and targeted offering, start by doing the hard work of determining what jobs your potential and existing customers need to get done. Don't assume that customers will use your offering exactly how you want them to; instead, identify their challenges and needs and design your offering and features to meet them in the most effortless and straightforward way possible.
Remember that simplicity isn't always the answer
Keeping things simple for customers is the way to go. But in some cases, simplicity can backfire. For example, if you're talking to a new and inexperienced customer, taking a high-level, simplified approach in your communications can be effective. But if you're working with a more experienced customer, such an approach could come off as condescending or unhelpful. The same applies to your offering. In some situations, customers prefer a simple product that does one thing well, but in others, they may want a solution that is perfectly-suited to their needs.
Building a simple customer experience is an incredibly complex commitment. It can be tempting to offer an array of features and options in an attempt to provide your customers with exactly what you think they want. But nine times out of ten, your customers will choose the easy option — not the perfect one. Identify and communicate your simplification priorities throughout the organisation, consider the entire customer journey, embrace internal complexity, and leave room for exceptions. This will put you on the path towards building the smooth and effortlessly simple experience that your potential and existing customers want.
If you're still interested in finding out more about how you can satisfy your customers - and importantly, how to measure their satisfaction - make sure to take a look at our free ebook, The importance of customer satisfaction. Simplicity is essential if you want to keep customers happy - but there's other important factors too.
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.