6 Behaviors to Develop Loyal Customers and Employees Through SIMPLE Customer Experiences
This week, we welcome Matt Lyles to the Digitally Irresistible podcast. Matt is a keynote speaker, customer experience consultant, and host of the SIMPLE brand podcast. He’s also writing a book by the same name: “SIMPLE brand.”
Matt enjoyed a long career with FedEx leading their brand strategy and guiding the effort to redefine their customer experience. Today, he helps companies deliver experiences that create loyal customers and loyal employees—all through the power of simplicity.
On this episode, we discuss the six behaviors any brand can use to create SIMPLE customer experiences.
A Passion for Simplicity
For many years, Matt Lyles handled marketing and branding for FedEx. He led FedEx brand strategy, guiding their effort to redefine the overall FedEx customer experience and teach it to 500,000 people across the globe.
Matt and his team grounded the FedEx brand experience in simple customer experiences. Their strategy was so effective that organizations reached out to Matt’s team to present about the FedEx brand at conferences. Matt knew this was an opportunity to grow his career by speaking in front of crowds. And the more he did it, the more he loved it.
Matt enjoyed all of his experiences at FedEx. As his passion for simplicity and public speaking grew, he decided to share the benefits of simple brand experiences with businesses across the globe.
Simplicity in CX Delivery
Matt explains how today’s world is evolving at a rapid pace and customer expectations have never been higher.
At the same time, he says customer loyalty is at an all-time low with consumers being bombarded by different experiences, many of which are complicated. As previous Digitally Irresistible podcast guest and CX thought leader and author Stan Phelps said, it’s important to differentiate based on experience.
Thinking about the different things consumers are bombarded with every day and the complexity of our lives, Matt knows firsthand that the best way for brands to differentiate is through their customer’s experience. Customers say the best experience is a simple experience.
6 Behaviors of SIMPLE Brand Experiences
Keeping things simple, isn’t as simple as just that. It takes thought and planning.
Matt has turned SIMPLE into an acronym that outlines six key behaviors his research has shown the world’s simplest brands implement to create the simplest experiences for their customers. Matt has created a SIMPLE Playbook comprised of these six behaviors that any brand and its employees can integrate into their approach to deliver a simple customer experience. This will help earn more loyal customers and employees to maximize long-term customer lifetime value.
These six behaviors are:
1. Simple Never Stops
Matt says things will always need to be simplified so we should continually assess what we can do to make things simpler and simpler. As the world continues to evolve, things will inherently get more complex. When you reach a point where you think your experience is simple, it may not still be simple enough a year or two later.
2. Innovate to Stay Ahead
It’s important to look ahead, innovate, and consider ways to continually simplify for the future. What will impact customers and what proactive measures can you take to offer experiences that meet those challenges at touchpoints throughout the customer experience?
3. Minimize Barriers
Think about what you can do to minimize barriers that prevent customers from enjoying the full experience you deliver. Some companies, for instance, allow their frontline support staff to offer customers only the minimum level of support needed to solve their problem. Some brands, however, empower their employees to provide first-call resolution and solve the customer’s problem without the need to refer them to someone else. This boosts customer satisfaction and differentiates them from competitors.
4. Prune It Back
Just as expert gardeners know, if you want to promote plant growth, you have to prune. In customer experience, for example, this means pruning back a complicated 12-step process to six simple steps, or maybe even three. It could mean if you offer a variety of products and services that give your customers decision fatigue, prune back your offerings to help simplify what customers must decide between.
Changes to the grocery shopping experience during the early days of the pandemic are an example of this. Traditionally, grocery shopping involved the customer driving, parking, walking around the store, standing in line, and checking out. When the pandemic hit, a number of grocery retailers pruned back the process and enabled customers to order their groceries online, drive up to a designated spot at their local store, and have their groceries brought directly to their car.
Some grocery store chains then further pruned back when third parties began delivering groceries to customers’ homes. In 2023, some retailers are actually bringing groceries inside the customer’s house and storing them in the customer’s refrigerator and pantry.
Matt jokes that maybe the next iteration will involve the retailer sitting at the table and making your kids eat their vegetables!
5. Lose the Jargon
Speak simply. Clear and concise communication makes it easy and quick for customers to understand.
In their book, “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath talk about how we’re all cursed with the knowledge that we use to communicate about our company and our industry. But this turns the average customer off because they don’t understand it. With all the complexity in our lives, customers don’t have time to figure out what a company is saying. We need to make it easier for them by using clear, concise, simple language. Even if you think your industry necessitates jargon, know that there will be disruptors in your industry who embrace simple experiences and simple language.
Once such industry is insurance. Many insurance carriers use similar language about protecting against damage to your home or safeguarding your assets, and consumers may find this communication hard to understand.
Some insurance companies are simplifying how they talk to customers. They’re gaining customers quickly through simple language like, if your home is damaged, we will cover the repair cost. This makes it easy for the customer to understand and it appeals to the consumer’s emotions—they’re covered in times of loss and hardship.
6. Empathize With the Customer
Understand your customer and what they go through on a day-to-day basis. What are their external goals, their external challenges, and what are their internal struggles? Think about how you can solve or minimize those through your offerings. This includes thinking about the words you use to help the customer feel comfortable.
Another way to empathize with your customers is to talk to them, listen to them, and observe them. When you observe your customers—especially when they’re using your product or service—you can understand what they’re going through and identify struggles that inform how you can further simplify their experience.
Keeping It SIMPLE for All Employees
Matt reminds us that customer experiences are designed and delivered by people. His six SIMPLE behaviors are developed to be easy to instill in every employee regardless of their role, whether they’re a C-suite executive or a frontline customer service agent. These behaviors have been embraced at all levels and promote employee engagement.
What Matt Does for Fun
Matt spends his free time with his wife and two young sons. They enjoy checking out different events, going out to eat, and having movie nights together. Living in Nashville, they also enjoy the excellent live music scene, which is made even better when Matt brings one of his sons to a concert.
To learn more about Matt and his SIMPLE methodology, connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and his website www.mattlyles.com. You can also visit www.mattlyles.com/iqor to access his SIMPLE Playbook which reviews the six behaviors discussed on this episode along with exercises and questions to help instill them.