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Do customers prefer simplicity or choice?

21 May 2021

How many of us tap into even half the functionality of mobile devices or sat navs? How many people ever use more than a couple of the settings on the washing machine or dishwasher?

Customers may think they want choice. They may want to spend time researching and choosing from a range of features to get the very best solution for their needs. The reality is that once they’ve purchased a product or service, they may only use a limited part of its functionality.

There’s a fine line between offering customers clear and attractive options or a bewildering array of choices. Businesses treading that line often face the same issues when updating their own technology.

Analysis paralysis

While most businesses agree that digital is the future for customer service, only one in five say most of their transactions are via digital channels. That’s because many of them are stuck in analysis paralysis.

Businesses want to offer customers a great digital experience, yet many struggle to make decisions about the right tech.

There are clearly lessons businesses can learn from their own journey to digital that they can apply when thinking about their own customers.

Simplicity or choice?

There are times when consumers need choice, with a product or service tailored to their precise needs. Some people like to spend time on getting to know the intricacies of sophisticated products or services.

Consumers need a choice of buying channels. That may vary depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Perhaps they can’t make a phone call at work, but could send a quick web form. Perhaps they spend their train commute buying online from their mobile.

While there are times when customers want and need choice, keeping it simple is key. If you’re asking how, the answer is through personalisation.

Data is the key to the choice conundrum

Data is the key to offering individual customers choice.

Depending on their location, previous preferences and the resources you have available, you could offer a choice of communications channels. That might include video calls, phone calls to a contact centre, email or contact with specialist support teams ready to help customers with real-time contextual information.

Intelligent software can use data to work out how customers prefer to communicate with you, while  cloud-based, software-defined networks let you respond to changing customer demands across multiple channels. Product or service offerings could be tailored to individuals using data from customer relationship management systems, digital marketing and social media and sentiment analysis.

If customers are reassured that you’re using their data to make life easier for them, they will feel happier about opting in to share their data. If you use data to personalise communication and buying channels, products and services, the choice customers face will be simple. They will choose you.

Learn how digital technologies can support customer experience.

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