Next week marks the start of December and the traditional season of giving, sending charities into overdrive competing for consumers’ attention and cash. But as well as, or increasingly, instead of rattling cans on the street, charities are going digital. 

Why? Because they have found that many people find giving via mobile an easier way to donate. New research out this week from Three, the UK’s fastest growing mobile phone network, found that 25% of all donations are now made by mobile - adding up to £2.4billion each year. What’s more, people who pledged money via mobile say they wouldn't have donated otherwise. Click here if you want to read Three’s research.

One charity,, which encourages people to donate 1p every time they shop, has even adopted the catchy strapline ‘Effortless giving.‘ Effort is becoming the new buzzword not just in charities but across customer service operations as well.

We are in the final stages of completing a new research report on customer effort with our research partner Capita which has produced evidence that reducing effort delivers significant benefits not just for customers but also for organisations. We had a lively meeting with Capita and clients in Leeds this week to discuss the preliminary results.

Our research found that while ‘effortless service’ may well be a goal for organisations, for most, it is far from a reality today as complex and cumbersome processes, systems and sometimes also cultural barriers get in the way of making life easy for customers.

The first step in reducing customer effort is to realise that there is a problem in the first place and we have certainly got that far. We asked you to think of yourselves as customers rather than service providers and we asked you to tell us whether in your own experience as a customer you had ever terminated an interaction with an organisation because it was too hard - 90% of you said you had.

That statistic alone should be enough to galvanise organisations to start at least exploring how to measure customer effort so they can assess where they stand on the spectrum of easy-to-hard to do business with.

Some of our members have already introduced effort measurement programmes and they are seeing benefits in terms of improved customer loyalty and net promoter scores. BT’s Dr Nicola Millard proclaimed recently that “Effort is the new loyalty”, a view endorsed by research led by Professor Moira Clark of Henley Centre for Customer Management.

A key development we have noted is that the most forward-looking organisations, (including Bord Gais Networks who gave an excellent presentation on the topic at Convention) are using customer effort insight intelligently to engineer business process change across the organisation.

This kind of thinking increases the impact and influence of contact centre operations across the organisation, and indeed at the top of it, as they become viewed not just as service agents but change agents.

We’ve done a lot of great work over the years with both Industry Council and Customer Experience Council on identifying the best metrics to use in customer contact operations, how to apply them and how best to derive actionable insight. 

Our latest research on effort provides an excellent opportunity to broaden the debate and perhaps add a new measure to operational excellence toolkits. It also coincides with our consultation across the CCA network on the shape of CCA Global Standard© Version 6 which we’ll be launching in 2014.

Being out front as a leader in customer service strategy and being bold enough to adopt new approaches is admirable but it can be hard too, especially if there is little scope for benchmarking against other organisations. CCA can help with bringing together like-minded organisations to share learning on new things.

We look forward to sharing the results of the full research report with you soon and welcome feedback. In the spirit of making things easy for you, we’ve created a link to pre-register for the CCA and Capita report ‘How Hard Is It To Make Life Easy for Customers.’ Click here to register.