4 Tips for Keeping it Simple in Customer Service
February 18, 2022 • 5 minute read

4 Tips for Keeping it Simple in Customer Service

Many years ago, I had a math teacher who always used the acronym KISS or  “Keep it simple stupid.” It was written on the board in big letters and he used it to encourage us to solve complicated equations by focusing on the simple steps that we needed to get it done (instead of being overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem). 

The use of the phrase by my teacher was really the only reference I had for the acronym, but it always stuck in my head. I always thought he had coined it, but after doing a quick google search I learned that this phrase was actually a design principle that originated from the U.S. Navy:

“The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.” 

Throughout the years, this principle has continued to be applied to design, coding, and more. But when you think about it, it can really be applied to just about anything. Why would you want to complicate things when they can best be accomplished by keeping things simple and straightforward.

When it comes to customer service, this idea makes a lot of sense. Customers already have a problem when they are contacting brands, and overcomplicating the process isn’t going to help. Providing them with the easiest way to get things done can not only keep your customer happy, but can also keep business processes streamlined.

Technology is supposed to simplify things, not complicate it

Today, most, if not all of the automation technology we see in customer service is meant to simplify the customer’s life by allowing them to take care of tasks on their own and saving them time by not having to wait in a long queue and speak with an agent. However, the downfall of most of this automation is that it is complicated in its own sense, and eventually leaves the customer with their problem unsolved, feeling frustrated, and at the back of the line.  

In order to provide a customer experience that is simple and efficient, it is important to choose a technology that will support that experience. Here are 4 tips to keep it simple and straightforward

Tip 1: Make it conversational

Not simple: Having to speak or type with certain words to get things done

Simple: Being able to talk normally, just like you would with a human.

We’ve all been there (hence the ubiquitous memes and comedy sketches around people yelling “REPRESENTATIVE!”). Stuck in an endless loop because we didn’t type the exact string of words into the chat application, or say something in the correct way to get where we need to be. Providing a conversational experience where customers are able to talk just like they would to the person next to them on the bus (well, maybe pre-COVID) makes it easier than trying to figure out what words to use and leaving people frustrated.

Tip 2: Give easy access to data

Not simple: Making agents navigate multiple systems to get the information they need to help a customer

Simple: Providing information at agents’ fingertips for the person and task at hand.

Many times, agents have to go to different systems in order to find data to solve a customer’s problem. This becomes very inefficient, resulting in the customer waiting on hold and the task taking longer than it should. Make sure that the automation technology you use can be easily integrated into your current backend systems, like your CRM, so customer data is easily accessible. Also, think about incorporating your front office functions that engage with customers, with your back office technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), to make the process even more efficient.

Tip 3: Provide a straightforward path to get things done

Not simple: Long, complicated menu trees

Simple: Starting every conversation with “How may I help you?”

I’ll admit, I am one of those people who have a short attention span, and when I call somewhere and have to listen to a menu tree, by the time I reach the end, I have forgotten what the first option was. And, if there is no “repeat menu” option, I have to hang up and call back and listen again. Starting the conversation with a simple “How may I help you” eliminates the multitude of choices while still getting the customer where they need to be on the first try.

Tip 4: Allow customers to stop and start conversations while keeping context

Not simple: Having to repeat information over and over

What’s simple: Carrying context

How many times have you been in the middle of a conversation on chat or the phone trying to remedy something when the internet fails, your mobile phone drops the call, or your boss messages you for an immediate answer. You sit at your computer or pick up the phone again only to realize that you have to start from square one. Provide your customers with a technology that can carry context from one channel to another, and let them stop or start conversations if they need to without the pain of repetition.

If you want to learn more about simplifying the customer experience, see our eBook Blueprint of the Modern Consumer.

Want to learn more? Let’s talk.