The Two Factor Theory and Customer Service
Aug05

The Two Factor Theory and Customer Service

 Co-written by Ben Patient and Nate Brown   In the late 1950’s, Frederick Herzberg introduced his research that has revolutionized the way we look at motivation in the workplace. This theory is known as the “Two Factor Theory” and it introduces two separate scales measuring employee satisfaction. There is one scale that measures satisfaction, and the other scale measures dissatisfaction. The key is to focus on the fact that Herzberg’s theory does not identify them on the same scale. This means satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not co-dependent opposites, but rather separate measurements all together. The two factors that comprise the theory are motivators and hygiene factors. When considered from a human resources perspective it looks like this: Motivators such as autonomy, recognition, and skill development work to GROW employee satisfaction. Hygiene Factors such as salary, job security, and work conditions work to REDUCE employee satisfaction. Depending on the combination of the two, an employee could be happy but not loyal. If the baseline hygiene factors are not well considered, then we are still at risk of losing the employee even if we lavish them with exciting motivators. The best part is that Herzberg’s two factor theory can be applied to other business functions. After all, it is a theory based on people, not any specific discipline. Customer Service is a fantastic example. Unique insight can be gained by viewing service interactions through the “two factor” lens. In a service environment we can consider: Motivators such as free products, convenient social media support channels, and “WOW” moments in service transactions can GROW satisfaction/brand loyalty. Hygiene Factors such as extended phone trees, long hold times, channel switching, or inconsistency between analysts can REDUCE customer satisfaction. There are many hygiene factors in service interactions that take the form of customer expectations. These are elements that will rarely build rapport (even when done very well), but when done poorly they are major dissatisfiers. Expectations will vary from service center to service center based on your customer demographic. For example, you will expect a different level of service at a Hilton property then you would at the Motel 6. Intentional effort to understand the expectations of your customers will be essential to predicting loyalty. Hygiene processes and workflows can be a drag to create and maintain. As service managers, we often pursue the sexy motivators -things often associated with “delight” – to try and wow customers and be the water cooler hero. This is only natural, who among us doesn’t enjoy the executive limelight for our efforts? The problem is that we often get carried away with creating “WOW” moments and we fail to meet fundamental...

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Customer Delight vs. Customer Effort
May20

Customer Delight vs. Customer Effort

There are two camps forming.  Both are waving the customer experience flag with great conviction.  Thousands of support leaders are choosing sides and donning the colors of either Customer Delight or “The Effortless Experience.”  Before taking your long sword off the wall, however, let us consider the critical lessons we need to learn from each to create the perfect balance! There is great power in delighting customers.  Doing so on a regular basis can turn them into an army of word of mouth ambassadors for your brand.  And unlike your internal marketing team, they’re paying you!  Steve Denning systematically articulates in his article why those organizations who do not sustain customer delight as a focus are missing the mark.  In the book, “The Customer Delight Principle: Exceeding Customers Expectations for Bottom-Line Success” authors Timothy L. Keiningham and Terry Vavra demonstrate how mere satisfaction is not enough.  It takes more than modest approval to retain customers, as 60% of those who leave a vendor report being at least satisfied. A study into customer effort brings clarity to this otherwise confounding statistic.  In the book “The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty,” The Corporate Executive Board * notes that even the almighty Customer Satisfaction Score (the holy grail of customer support metrics) has an astoundingly low connection with loyalty.  A typical customer does not expect to be astonished on every touch point with the business. They simply want to reach a resolution as quickly and easily as possible. Therefore, we need to reduce the amount of effort required by the customer.  Actions to reduce channel switching and guide customers to the best resolution path are what foster a successful partnership.  Find out more here.  Business leaders who invest innumerable resources into fostering customer delight universally are seeing very little return on this investment. How do we reconcile this? We must create an effortless experience interspersed with pinnacles of customer delight! There are touch points in every CX journey where customers expect the extra mile.  We need to identify a handful of touch points and roll out the red carpet in these areas.  Even as we work to manufacture these summits, we can still cater to several “effortless” principles – including guiding the customer to the best resolution path.  If we know we will not create a good resolution experience for a problem using social media for example, then why would we guide our customers there?  Equip them for success and give them the right solution at the right time.  Having fantastic support channels is better (from both a delight and an effort standpoint) then having a large number of channels. One of...

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