keep it simple, make it easy

Want to know a secret of great businesses, of great customer service, of just getting stuff done? If you want someone to do something, make it as easy as possible for them to do it.

The best example is Amazon and their 1-click checkout. It doesn’t get any easier to give a business my money. Although it sounds intuitive, there are tons of examples of businesses that do the opposite. For example, I used to live near a dry cleaner that didn’t take debit cards (?!?). They never understood that forcing me to go to an ATM before getting my cleaning pretty much ensured I used a different cleaner.

There are many examples that are much, much subtler. This is on my mind because just this week alone, I was assaulted with several examples of people wanting something from me but making it very difficult to do:

  • A company I’m a certified trainer for emailed to let me know that revised materials were now available on their website. But no mention of where. It took me a good five minutes to track them down when a hyperlink in the email would have taken them no more effort and would made it a snap for me to find (and use) the new materials.
  • A friend forwarded a newsletter on training and l liked it enough to go to the website to subscribe. Unfortunately, they REQUIRE me to give name, company, address, email, phone number, some demographic info about the company, etc. I just wanted a newsletter, not a relationship. If they had only asked for an email I would have subscribed then they could have wowed me into buying their products. Instead, they made it easier for them to do a sales call to me, but made it harder for me so now they won’t get the chance.
  • I received an email that wanted me to provide some information and then told me where I could find the address to send it rather than just providing the address. What? The odds of me replying went down substantially.
  • I’m attending a training in the fall and was sent a reminder that “to sign up if I hadn’t already”. There are – maybe – 30 people eligible for the training and they couldn’t look at the roster and send out the reminder to only those who still need to sign up? Instead I received an email that I didn’t need to get UNLESS I haven’t signed up yet and only thought I did so now I have to email them just to confirm.

That was all just this week. Great customer service – great leadership – means finding ways to remove barriers to action – not adding them.

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