At Siegel+Gale, we believe in the power of simplicity. We own it, defend it and live by it.
Every day, we partner with the world’s leading corporations, nonprofits, and government organizations to build brand experiences that are remarkably clear and unexpectedly fresh. In other words, simple. Because our research shows brands that embrace simplicity forge deeper relationships with their customers and employees—and unleash powerful business results.
We have celebrated International Women’s Day since 2014, convening thought-provoking panel events across our global offices. For IWD 2019, we turn to our Simplifiers interview series and twelve inspiring female business leaders for their insight on simple (and memorable) customer experiences.
Q: What’s the most recent, simple customer experience that inspired you?
Riham El-Lakany, CMO, Single-Family at Freddie Mac
I’m going to go with a brand that everybody knows: Apple. It’s simple, and the interactions are terrific. With the first generation of devices, there was a lot of jargon, as if Apple took pride in the lack of simplicity. However, over the years, they’ve done an excellent job of democratizing their language and their experiences.
Recently, I had some issues with text messaging on my iPhone. I called Apple’s 800 number—and I typically dread calling 800 numbers because it means I’ve given up and chances are, I’m going to get someone on the phone who is not going to be helpful. However, my experience was quite the contrary. The representative spoke plain English and easily guided me through the process. It only took three minutes to resolve the issue. The call was followed up with a simple, check-in e-mail from Apple. The whole experience was short, sweet, simple and got me where I needed to go.
Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer, IKEA Group
I’m a big fan and longtime user of Airbnb. I really admire the whole experience, especially how the emotional feedback is managed so that one feels secure throughout the whole process. When you think about it, you’re agreeing to stay at a stranger’s home and you don’t know if it will work out, but this concern is overcome with communication cues that are made to feel human. I’m really in love with how technology is bringing solutions to real problems at scale and in a very affordable way.
I had to get a handful of new mattresses and I found Saatva. The website was so easy to use and there were only two choices to select from. I was contacted, and they showed up. The whole process was easy and simple.
Cynthia Kleinbaum, Head of Marketing—Everyday Living Business, Walmart
I really like the meditation app called 10% Happier. I’ve tried using meditation apps before, but I like 10% Happier because the product is built to make it simple to get to what I feel like doing at that point—either taking a course or practicing meditation. You can even do a one-minute meditation if that’s all the time you have. By making it easy for people to open the app and start, without doing research or jumping through hoops, they made it very easy for me to get hooked.
I’m working from home today, and this morning we lost power. I first thought the process of contacting the electric company—Consumer’s Power—would be miserable, but my experience was so pleasant: on their website they had a simple procedure where you put in your phone number and address, reported your problem, and they texted you updates on the progress of restarting your power throughout the day.
Amy Dunkin, CMO, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I continue to be impressed by the level of service I receive from American Express. They regularly anticipate my needs and over deliver. My wallet was recently stolen and, by the time I’d figured it out, American Express was seven steps ahead of me. Consistently, they do a great deal on my behalf, which I’m sure requires a very intricate web of activity on their part. And yet, my experience with them is always incredibly simple.
Amanda Tolleson, Chief Customer Officer, Birchbox
I love the Chobani store in SoHo. It’s a wonderful example of taking something that’s not typically consumed in-store and bringing it to life in a simple and delightful way. In the store, there are people walking around with iPads, so you can order while sitting down or at the counter. You can get in and out incredibly fast and have a delightful experience or linger and also have a delightful experience. All touchpoints express the brand. It’s ideal.
I’m fond of browsing clothing options online, but since I’m hard to fit, its simplest for me to try clothing on in the store. Several of my favorite brands, such as Nordstrom and Talbots, have a feature I like called find it in store, which allows you, when shopping online, to find a store near you with that particular item. This allows me the best of both the online and brick and mortar experience.
Etsy is one of my favorite marketplaces. I like to give gifts that are relevant, personal and which feel special. Etsy is my go-to resource for that because its designers offer so much customization.
On top of its creativity, Etsy offers tremendous convenience. You can order a customized good made especially for you and have it delivered in less than a week, which is certainly an example of simplicity.
Sheryl Adkins, CMO, Mary Kay, Inc.
While shopping recently at a Neiman Marcus, a sales associate took the initiative to contact customer service to identify whether I had any rewards points that could be used towards my purchase. She could have just rung up my purchase and enjoyed the commission. But she went the extra mile to make sure I was getting the full value of my purchase, which was exceptional and simplified my shopping experience.
The whole experience of Deloitte University—from planning your visit to the moment you leave—is world-class. Consider the check-in process: When you arrive, someone greets you, they know who you are, they have your name and agenda at the ready, and they know where you’re going. Everything is taken care of—there’s no exchanging of credit card information or waiting in line. They anticipate your needs and provide you with what you need and want, which is the essence of simplicity.
My experience with MatchesFashion.com. With many fashion brands, returning an item can be a frustrating process: you have to go online, print out and complete various forms, pack the garment, and travel to the post office to ship your return. MatchesFashion has a simple customer service ethos: regardless of what you order, if for any reason you are unsatisfied, they make it easy to return the item—no questions asked. That kind of simplicity inspires brand loyalty because I know that if I am not completely satisfied, it’s easy to adjust. This has created an impressive experience, and the ability to take risks in ordering items because I’m assured of the ease and simplicity in the return process.