Measuring customer effort: How easy is it to shop at your dealership?

Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome back Joseph Michelli, CEO of The Michelli Experience, speaker, and New York Times best-selling author. In this segment, Michelli discusses his recent article “So You Want to Measure Customer Effort – 3 Things You Must Know” and how his tips can help you build a top-notch customer experience.

There’s no doubt that customers still need to be wowed, but wowing doesn’t have the same impact as it once did, says Michelli. Sometimes in an effort to really wow the customer, businesses go over the top with experiences and wow stories. However, most of those wow stories are not sustainable. They don’t make for good business. After a while, customers come to expect businesses to constantly top themselves. Instead, businesses that obsess over making the customer experience easier and more convenient will win at the end of the day.

“I think that you can only ‘free’ your way into so much love from the customer’s perspective,” explains Michelli. “And most of the empiric literature says it really doesn’t buy a lot of loyalty.”

For example, a recent study suggested that there are normally 54 actions a new hire has to go through from the time they start, to the first day on the job. Michelli asks, what can organizations do to reduce the amount of effort put on people once they’ve been hired? The same can be said for retail customers. How much effort are you asking them to put forth?

If it’s very difficult for customers to do business with you, they likely won’t repurchase from you again. Michelli recommends that business leaders determine their customer effort score by sending surveys or questionnaires to recent customers. That information can then be used to identify key effort problems.

“We need to figure out what is getting in the way. We need to step in the shoes of our customers, look at it from their side of the counter, see what they’re seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling, doing, touching, and then be able to remove some of that complexity,” says Michelli.

Did you enjoy this interview with Joseph Michelli? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.