I’ve been writing about customer service lately – why it’s important and how to ensure you’re continually refining the experience you’re offering your customers. Today, my point is this: your customer either experiences clarity or confusion when it comes to your organization.

Many organizations think that it’s easiest to impress their customers by adding bells and whistles to their products and services – but it’s not that simple. In fact, that strategy is the opposite of simple. More often than not, “extras” confuse customers. And the more your customers have to figure out on their own to understand your product or service, the less likely they are to become loyal customers. The easier you make it on them, the quicker they’ll get the hang of it, catch onto it, and buy into it.

A product example of this is new gadgets. Although customers love knowing a lot of features are available if and when they decide they need them – the ease of use is essentially going to define whether or not the customer takes the bait. The extra facets do nothing for a customer if he/she doesn’t know how to turn on the technology or find the features. In fact, customers are more likely to become frustrated and feel hopeless if they can’t operate what they now own.

So, look at the various events that make up your customers’ experience and determine if each is confusing or clear. Some of these include the way you advertise, word and package your offer. Other factors include the features and functionality of the product. And lastly, consider the support and help the customer can utilize. All of these details determine whether or not a customer “gets” it (whatever ‘it’ is in your case).

Because every business (and customer) differs, it’s impossible to give a blanket solution to keeping it simple – so, it’s important to think through what’s relevant to you. Ask a few of these questions to define what details need to be included and excluded (to answer some of these, you may need to conduct a little customer research):

  • How many product and brand varieties do your customers need?
  • When your customers call the helpdesk, how many buttons & minutes does it take to reach a rep?
  • What languages do you need to include to ensure that every customer can read the text?
  • With advertisements, what assumptions are you making about what your customer already knows?
  • How complicated or succinct are your employees when they engage with customers?
  • What is the most common reason your customers don’t “get” what you’re offering?
  • How many steps and clicks does it take to complete a task with your product?
  • Do your employees do more explaining than they need to?

After all is said and done, you don’t want your customers to leave lost. You need to be clear about what you’re providing, how it works, why it’s worth it and what their role in all of it is. So, tell us now: What’s one thing that confuses you when you’re the customer?