Simplicity as a cornerstone of deep customer centricity
Nowadays, customer centricity is no longer a potential source of competitive advantage, it has become a key condition to play. In the current VUCA times, the risks of a competitor launching a brand new service, a new player entering the market or a substitute expanding its product range have increased dramatically. With the rise of digital channels, the customers can compare and evaluate all these options easier than ever before. Therefore, today’s key challenge is not simply to put the customer at the centre of your business but how you can achieve that better than your competitors.
In this race, the critical question is how to deliver a positive experience to the largest number of customers in contact with your business and simplicity can significantly influence how customers perceive what you have to offer:
A simple message is understood quicker and better memorised
A simple process facilitates adoption as customers go smoothly through the different steps
A simple framework to interact with customers drives satisfaction, generating higher loyalty.
A simple experience requires that all actions expected from the customer should be easy for him to perform. This engagement implies that your company should ask the least effort from its customers and prevent all possible pains that they could encounter during the customer journey. It can be summarised as the promise to deliver the smoothest experience.
Furthermore, simplicity also means removing the unnecessary. Today, more and more applications provide solutions to enhance and simplify parts of the customer journey (e.g. Belgian initiaitve "itsme" digital ID to identify customers). By simplifying your process, the focus is redirected to the interactions that are truly meaningful.
“By searching to simplify your experience, you make the exercise of trying to understand deeply your customers”
The perception that a task is simple is highly subjective. This means that your company has to know its customers well in order to determine the level of complexity that match their knowledge of your solution. If you oversimplify your experience, you may create distrust or lose credibility. Simplicity is a difficult equilibrium between complexity and oversimplification. By searching to make your experience as simple as possible, you make the exercise of trying to understand deeply how your customers experience your service.
Some might fear that developing a simple customer experience would make it ordinary, missing delighting factors that could really differentiate it from the competition. Actually, striving for simplicity does not hamper the implementation of technics to surprise and delight your customers. On the contrary by removing what is irrelevant, you gain space to add meaningful interactions. The identification of the fundamental actions that shape your customer experience enables you to reassess the value of each secondary feature or step in the process.
“Commit to provide a simple experience impacts the whole customer journey and the internal business processes”
Two main reasons can be highlighted to use simplicity as a principle to foster customer centricity. Firstly, it leads to a strong commitment to deliver a high quality experience to the customer. Not a single action that he has to perform should be unnecessary or painful. Secondly, it forces the company to learn deeply about its customers. To achieve simplicity, your company will have to gather information on how your customers see your value proposal, go through the buying process, use your solution, solve the malfunctions, etc. To conclude, providing a simple experience to all your customers will impact the whole customer journey as well as the related internal business processes.
In a future issue, I will tackle the topic of simplicity as a culture and its impact on organisations.
Are you as passionate as us around simplicity ? Feel free to get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 VUCA : Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous