Effortless Experiences Allow Customers To Exhale

Photo Credit: Shena Tschofen via CC License

Photo Credit: Shena Tschofen via CC License

This post was originally featured on the FCR blog on April 8, 2016. Click here to read the original. On that post, Jeff Toister commented that six weeks without pots and pans would be unbearable and thus require a lot of customer effort. From my perspective, these pans had been fairly useless for a while so we had other, second rate pans to get by but I see his point. As you read this, could Calphalon have done more to make this more effortless? 

Nearly 15 years ago my sister gave us a set of Calphalon pots and pans as a wedding gift. They were fantastic to cook with but definitely lost much of their “non-stick” ability somewhere along the way. For whatever reason, it came up in conversation and my sister said “You know those pans have a lifetime warranty, right?” She then proceeded to rattle off a few stories about how they had replaced pans with no questions asked.

Not having a receipt or any other proof of purchase, I contacted Calphalon and held my breath.

They got back to me fairly quickly and asked me to send them a picture. I sent them a picture and again held my breath.

They wrote back and said they thought the pans were probably qualified to be replaced under warranty but wanted me to ship them to their office. They said I would hear back within about six weeks. I shipped them off and continued to hold my breath.

Yesterday, about a month later, I came home to a Calphalon box on my front doorstep. I was hopeful but continued to hold my breath as I half expected to be greeted by my dirty old pots and pans.

Upon opening the box, I exhaled as I was met with a brand new set of pots and pans.

As I read back through this sequence, I’m realizing that I have some serious trust issues. While I remained hopeful throughout, I half expected Calphalon to do what was in THEIR best interest and recite some reason why my situation didn’t qualify for their warranty and why I would have to go buy a new set of pots and pans. That’s pretty much the norm, right? It’s up to us customers to fight tooth and nail for our rights. To fight companies to keep their brand promises. Calphalon proved to be the exception to the rule.

Based on personal experience, the companies that win my trust and allow me to breathe deeply are the ones I most readily do business with and tell others about. Contrast that with companies where you have to fight to get what you want and you quickly begin to see why Customer Effort Score is a great predictor of customer loyalty and repeat business.

On a semi-related note, is your company currently using Customer Effort Score to measure how effortless their customer experience is? Leave me a comment or a note and share who’s using it and how it’s helping them improve their customer experience.


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  • I implemented Customer Effort Score at an IT Help Desk at the beginning of 2015. Initially it was introduced to provide empirical evidence to management of the team’s performance. Since introducing however they have seen many benefits: the processing time of tickets has dropped, escalations and complaints have decreased, employee engagement has increased, and a number of improvements have been made to people, processes and systems as a result of customer suggestions.

    The key when asking any quantitative question in a survey is to follow it up with a qualitative question like “can you please tell us why you gave us that score” which gives you the real gold. Either what you’re doing right and need to maintain or what you need to work on to improve.

    For anyone that wants to know more about the Customer Effort Score, look for a Harvard Business Review article called Stop Trying To Delight Your Customers from July August 2010.

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