In The Six PillarsTM, the pillar of Time and Effort is often one of the highest-scoring for some of the UK’s most successful brands. Similarly, it is one that customers attach a particularly high value to. Time is regarded as a precious asset, and one that many people wish to protect at all costs. This invariably means that customers will chose a faster, more efficient option over one that will simply save them money. As such, Time and Effort should form a crucial part of any brand’s customer experience strategy.

David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood, notes that it has become a highly competitive aspect of customer experience management, particularly in the area of grocery retail. “In the 2015 CEE, there is a growing awareness of the value that customers place on Time and Effort,” he says, “and many retailers have started to use this pillar almost as a weapon against their rivals.”

In 2015, customers genuinely desire a seamless, hassle-free experience, and factors such as queuing times and complicated online processes can impact their long-term loyalty and, on an everyday level, leave them feeling disillusioned and frustrated.

Companies such as first direct have recognised this, and have used this knowledge to positive effect in the Customer Experience Excellence rankings; first direct is actually the highest-scoring financial services brand of 2015, with an impressive CEE score of 8.26. Similarly, its Time and Effort score is equally strong, clocking in at an excellent 8.75.

Speed and efficiency integral to CX strategy

And for first direct, speed and efficiency are integral parts of its ongoing customer experience strategy, and they have contributed significantly to its recent achievements. Without any physical branches or store locations, the company’s efforts are focused on perfecting its telephone and internet services, as the brand explains: “Our outstanding online banking service is the perfect way to keep track of your money wherever you are,” it says. “It puts you immediately in control of your finances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, giving you an instant view of your first direct accounts, together with balances, statements, payment details and more.”

The success of this approach is evidenced in the customer responses, with many of first direct’s bankers and savers speaking highly of their experiences with the brand. One customer commented that they were “impressed at how fast and efficient telephone banking with first direct was,” adding that their call had been answered “almost immediately.” Another customer remarked that it was “a doddle” to transfer money from their savings account via online banking, describing it as an “effortless” experience.

In addition, first direct makes good use of its social media channels, and this is another important factor in any customer experience strategy, particularly with regards to the pillar of Time and Effort. For example, the online retailer Amazon makes strong use of its @AmazonHelp Twitter channel, providing fast responses to customer complaints and enquiries, whatever language the user communicates in, (some recent tweets showed Amazon talking to customers in Spanish). And like many companies, the retailer is adapting to cater for the needs of its increasingly-connected customer base, whose levels of expectation have shifted following the rise of instant communication platforms such as Facebook and other social media websites.

Customers now have the ability to speak to a brand at the click of a button, whatever time of the day or night, and there is an expectation that the company will respond within a reasonable timeframe. Therefore, for any brand hoping to succeed in the Customer Experience Excellence rankings, the importance of perfecting the pillar of Time and Effort in a customer experience strategy cannot be underestimated.

For more customer experience insight visit the KPMG Nunwood CEM blog.

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