April 20, 2015

Emails – You don’t need to explain an internal process

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 8:54 am

The worst thing we can do is provide an #Effortless experience and then tell the Customer all of the steps in our internal process that we had to go through to solve their problem. Telling them how hard it was to get a credit approved does NOT make them grateful … it makes them think that you were a hero, but if they don’t get you next time, they might be in for a lot of Effort.

When you respond to customers let them know that you value them and that it’s important to the Company that we always provide them with an #Effortless experience.

March 20, 2015

What is Experience Engineering?

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 12:12 pm

If #Effortless #Self-Service is the goal, then why do we need highly skilled people working directly with our customers …. because Exertion (# of steps in the process) only accounts for 35% of how Customers perceive the interaction.  65% of how effortless the interaction felt is up to our support organization.

Example –

What if your 6am flight got cancelled, and you called customer service and they said, “We can get you on a flight tonight at 9pm.”  The interaction might have been effortless, but you would probably be thinking … Hey, what about that flight at noon?  Why can’t I be on that flight?

Compare that to a call where the customer care rep said, “I can get you on a flight tomorrow … but hang on, you are an important customer, let me see if I can get you on a flight today.”  When the customer service rep comes back with a 9pm flight, you probably feel lucky vs. in the previous experience, you might feel like you were mashed on the next open seat.

This is called “Experience Engineering” – it’s the skill of doing “something”, when there is “nothing” you can do!

March 10, 2015

Effortless Communication = Simple Communication

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 2:02 pm

Use words that make sense to both our internal and external customers.

Step 1 – Make it effortless for customers to find the communication/information

Step 2 – Make it effortless to understand the communication

The Gunning Fog Index gives the number of years of education that your reader hypothetically needs to understand the paragraph or text. The Gunning Fog Index formula implies that short sentences written in plain English achieve a better score than long sentences written in complicated language.

For reference, the New York Times has an average Fog Index of 11-12, Time magazine about 11.   #Effortless communication is probably in the 8-10 range.

As a test, paste an email into the index link above and see if you could do better!

How can I create a small bit-url for my Twitter posts?

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 9:40 am

Creating a tiny url is #Effortless if you use bitly.  I was using tinyurl .. .but bitly makes it easier!  Thanks!

Just click: and sign up using your twitter account and effortlessly add links to your twitter posts!

March 5, 2015

Training is a Waste of Time!

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 10:27 am

When a user asks for training documents, the user is really saying: “Your system is poorly designed”

* Did we need training to place our first Amazon order?
* Can you leave feedback on eBay without picking up the phone to ask for help?
* Can a child start a new video game and learn to play in minutes, without reading a manual?

IT set a goal for new applications. Each should feature “Guided Decision Making” or “Guided Self Service”. Applications should guide users through the necessary steps to complete a process. The application should be so intuitive that training would be a waste of time!

February 18, 2015

Surprise – Customers don’t really want to be delighted by you

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 11:10 am

Surprise – Customers don’t really want to be delighted by you. They just want to “get on with their lives”

This makes perfect sense when I am the customer. When I walk into my bank, I just want to get in and get out of the bank as quickly as possible (with the correct transaction). In fact, I am more likely to stand in line at the ATM, than to stand in line for a teller.

I wouldn’t be any happier if the bank handed me a toaster while I waited in line. I like toast, but that’s not why I go to the bank. The toaster doesn’t have a positive impact on my loyalty.

Instead of focusing our efforts on getting customers to say, “You delighted me.”

We want them to say, “That was easy.”

February 16, 2015

Stop Phishing and protect yourself!

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 11:02 am

If you receive a suspicious looking email (AKA phishing attempt), please DELETE it. Not sure? Here’s 10 tips for spotting a phishing email:


All passwords should include a MINIMUM of 8 (10 or more preferable) alphanumeric characters and include at least three of the four following characteristics:

– Contain at least one upper case letter;
– Contain at least one lower case letter;
– Contain at least one number (e.g. 0-9); and,
– Contain at least one special character (e.g. !$%^&*()_+|~-=\{}[]:”;’<>?,/).

Want to change your Gmail password?

Tips for creating STRONG passwords video courtesy of Google:

written by  Leanne McAfee

Measure Loyalty not Satisfaction

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 9:21 am

Years ago, in a galaxy far far away, a colleague and I were trying to figure out how to benchmark customer satisfaction.

I asked, “How satisfied do we need a customer to be?”

She said, “Just satisfied enough to be loyal, any extra is a waste of effort.”

It didn’t dawn on me until now.  We were bench marking and measuring the wrong thing.  We made the assumption that CUSTOMER SATISFACTION = LOYALTY.  We knew that loyalty was what mattered, but we didn’t try to measure loyalty.  We assumed that satisfied customers were always loyal.

The truth is, ~80% of satisfied customers are loyal, so we weren’t that far off.  But we still wasted time measuring the wrong thing.

February 13, 2015

Do HEROES drive Customer loyalty?

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 12:49 pm

A few months ago, my credit card was stolen and the thief used my credit card to try to buy via the internet.

AMAZON – called me to alert me to the problem. They pro-actively put a hold on the shipments and made it really easy for me to understand what had happened to my account.

MY CREDIT CARD COMPANY was another story.

  • I called the credit card company to report my issue
  • I entered my information 3 times before I found a live person who should have been able to help me
  • I reported the fraudulent charges 4 times to this person, repeating myself over and over, before they were able to confirm that they understood
  • Next, the service rep transferred me to another department.  I was asked to report each fraudulent charge again
  • Finally, just when I thought I was done, I asked when I would be receiving my new card
  • The service rep said that he couldn’t help me.  He then transferred me to another department
  • The new service rep thought that I was cancelling my account
  • After verifying my information again and explaining what had happened, she transferred me to another department
  • Luckily, I was transferred to a “HERO” who took care of me.  Sam was wonderful.  He quickly resolved my issues and overnighted a new credit card to me.

How was my loyalty impacted by this encounter?

AMAZON – I am loyal.  The experience was effortless.  I feel like they had my back and were really on top of their game. (Interaction time with Amazon <2 minutes)

CREDIT CARD COMPANY – While I think Sam was awesome, I think the credit card company was incompetent.  It was the opposite of effortless. (Interaction time with my credit card company >30 minutes)


Unless the Hero is the first contact, the answer is “No, a hero does not drive loyalty.”  Repeating information, being bounced around, and feeling like the experience was “generic” far outweighed the extraordinary efforts of “Sam the Hero”.


I am pretty sure that the 30 minutes that I spent with my credit card company cost more than the 2 minutes that I spent with Amazon.  More $$ doesn’t = more loyalty.  Seems absolutely counter-intuitive.

February 12, 2015

Top 5 Reasons Customers stop doing business with you

Filed under: Financial Management — Sandi Mays @ 5:38 pm

If you want customers to leave, just follow the below 5 steps.  Any one of these 5 items can cause a customer to leave you forever.  (I think the cable company starts with this list, and then thinks of other ways to make me crazy)

1. It took more than one contact to resolve the problem

  • First contact resolution is HUGELY IMPORTANT

2. The experience felt generic

  • Customers want personalized service

3. Repeating information

  • Don’t even get me started!

4. Perceived additional effort to resolve

  • When a customer hates the answer, it doesn’t matter how wonderful you were.  The trick is guiding customers to the answer

5. Transfers (Bouncing the customer around)

  • Customers are not ping pong balls
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