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Simplicity should be the key 2023-24 mantra, says India EAS Index Report

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The EAS Index Report identifies customer pain points across their interaction with brands and shares recommendations to ease the same

Bengaluru: The India Effort Assessment Score (EAS) Index Report 2023, a neuro-science-based study generated by Terragni Consulting says that simplicity should be the key mantra of 2023-24. The study also defines the 3Cs of simplicity as Clarity, Consistency, and Cohesiveness emphasizing that physical or digital journeys need to be designed with the 3Cs in mind.

The EAS Index Report focuses on four consumer sectors including banking, insurance, retail, and e-commerce to understand how effortful Indian consumers find their service providers from the sectors to be.

The Effort Assessment Score (EAS) integrates traditional quantitative techniques and consumer neuroscience-based tools and is designed to collect specific assessments across the three constituents of effort: Physical Effort, Time Effort, Cognitive Effort, and Perceived Effort.

The study found that customers experience higher stress on account of iterations, ineffective messaging, lack of visibility, and an overall sense of lack of control.

Key insights

  • Retail and e-commerce are among the sectors seen as more effortful with regard to customer journeys now as compared to pre-pandemic levels. This could be due to a combination of these sectors falling behind on effort reduction as well as customers’ tolerance to friction lowering.
  • As organizations have digitized nearly all customer journeys, the reduction of physical effort has hit the point of diminishing returns. Being effortless on the physical effort dimensions is now table stakes.
  • Achieving desired outcomes continues to need multiple attempts across industries. In a digital world, this translates into the higher time required than what customers expect to spend. In a digital journey, customers have significantly lower temporal tolerance and even small delays impact how effortful customers perceive a brand to be.
  • Post-purchase phase and especially customer support is the most effortful stage in banking, insurance, and e-commerce. The need for multiple iterations to get the right support and multiple follow-ups on status are primary effort drivers.
  • In retail, in-store support is reported as the most effortful. The effort to get the in-store representatives to understand the requirements is high.
  • In e-commerce, choice overload in the process of choosing the right product drives the most cognitive stress and counterintuitively drives dissonance.

The study suggests brands eliminate cognitive stress by incorporating high visibility of outcomes for the customers. The report recommends that businesses should accept that their journeys will fail and thus design for failure. “A well-designed Service Recovery that focuses on assurance and stress transference is a key opportunity for driving ease and differentiation,” the report said.

Also, interactions with sales/service representatives need to balance the one-size-fits-all apathy of digital journeys with empathy, assurance, and stress transference to reduce the cognitive stress for the customer.

“Organizations have invested significant resources in personalizing journeys and communications. Customers do not however see this as simplifying their decision journeys, consumption journeys, or support experiences. In most cases, contextualization works better than personalization,” the report added.

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