Does Your Company Create an “Easy Button” Customer Experience?


Image of the Staple's Red Easy Push ButtonMany studies have revealed that customers who have a problem resolved to their satisfaction are more loyal than customers who’ve never had a problem at all.

The 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report revealed that 79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online were ignored by the company. The 21% remaining who did get a response shared a positive experience.

A company that is unafraid of facing complaints tends to receive fewer, and gets extra points in the customer’s mind for being willing to take the heat. In a strange way a complaint is like a compliment; the customer cares about your company or product enough to say something rather than close the door.

Does your company have an “easy button?” Do you hide your complaint department or is it out in front for all customers to easily access and engage with?

The OtterBox “Easy Button” Customer Experience Example

I recently had a friend share a great customer experience story about a company that had a button so “easy” she almost felt guilty with the result when it was all over.

Otterbox iPhone Cover

“Last week my sweet son pulled off the outer skin on my OtterBox® iPhone case and ripped it into a few pieces. Since I was already in Wal-Mart I immediately headed to the electronics department to purchase a new skin. To my disappointment I could only locate the complete set. I visited two additional stores in town and kept coming up empty handed time after time. My final stop was Radio Shack. As I proceeded to tell my story for the 3rd time I heard a young man at the register yell out, “Have you called OtterBox?”

I have to admit that it never crossed my mind to call the manufacturer since the case was 2 years old and the damage was caused by my child. He informed me that if I simply called OtterBox they would replace the case for free—no questions asked. I couldn’t be that easy—nothing is that easy! Being the skeptic that I am, I returned home and immediately began to Google—searching online reviews regarding OtterBox replacement parts and warranty.

Here is the review that gave me the confidence I needed to call the manufacturer:

I’ve broken over a dozen holsters on my Defenders over the years. OtterBox have offered to send me up to 3 holsters at a time (so I’m not without one when I break the replacement), all free of charge. I’ve also contacted them when they didn’t have just the holsters in stock, so they sent over an entire retail pack case instead. They really are awesome! I am forever loyal!

At this point I had enough confidence to call OtterBox. The conversation took less than 10 minutes.

  1. What color and style OtterBox did you purchase? When did you purchase it?
  2. What is your address?
  3. You will receive it within three days. Note: I received it within 2 days.

No charge, no proof of purchase necessary—it was that easy! As we all know from our own experience, people do business with companies that make the encounter an easy and pleasurable one. It just makes sense. Naturally then, simplifying the customer interaction to make it as pleasant and effortless as possible is worth the undertaking.”

Make Sure Your “Easy Button” is Easy to Find

Make your company easier to do business with. That sounds simple doesn’t it? Who would make their company harder to do business with? Yet you can browse thousands of negative customer reviews and over and over again it comes down to a difficult process, bad experience, or simply ignoring the customer and their problem. For many customers it takes too long to get the problem resolved and the time in-between can become very messy and damage a customer experience and a company’s reputation.

Five Ways to Help Create “Easy Button” Customer Experiences

Today, we see many apartment communities in markets where the product and services are very similar and often the only difference between them is the customer service and customer experience. How can you make your community stand out from the rest?

1. Review the Leasing Process

When was the last time you reviewed your leasing process (before, during and after) from your customers’ perspective. Every stage of the leasing and move-in process is identifiable and has desired customer outcomes. Review these cycles. Maybe even draw it out in a chart or diagram so you fully understand how people do business with you. This process is often referred to as Journey Mapping. These are the places that you touch your customers—the touch points.

2. Look for Gaps in the Entire Sales Process

Are their gaps in the leasing and resident process where they get frustrated or bored with your product and service? Each step is an opportunity to improve or streamline how you and your customers interact. When you review each step look for ways to make it easier for customers to get what they want. The more simple the steps, the easier it will be to lease and renew residents.

3. Make Important Information Easy to Find

Do you make it easy for potential residents to find information about your company, community, product, and services? There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to locate a telephone number on a website. Yes, people do still like to talk to a human being, so make it easy to locate your number—don’t hide it. Look through the customer’s lens and see how easy (or difficult) it is to access all of the different areas they will need before, during ,and after they lease.

4. Empower the Front Line

If a customer does have a problem, is there a means of conflict resolution that is easily accessible to them? Do you empower your on-site employees to make decisions or do they have to rely on someone in another office to make most decisions for them? Do they understand their boundaries? Is there a high degree of reliability?

5. Ask for Feedback

Are you talking to some of your long-term residents and asking their opinion on how you can improve the relationship? You may be surprised to find that they appreciate your interest in them and that you value their opinion. Are you talking to the prospective residents, the ones that didn’t choose you, and the ones that left you? Feedback (in-person, resident surveys, apartment reviews) from all of these different perspectives will begin to reveal how easy or how difficult it is to do business with your company.

Let’s face it, customers value their time and want everything to be as easy and quick as possible. Don’t make it tough on them. After all, customers have the choice of whether or not to do business with you. Simplifying the interaction makes their choice easier.

Does your company have an “easy button?” I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.



President and Owner, Ellis Partners in Mystery Shopping

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Joanna Ellis is CEO and Owner of Ellis Partners in Management Solutions (EPMS) and Co-owner of Renter’s Voice. Under her direction, Ellis has established itself as the premier apartment mystery shopping company in the nation, as well as a respected provider of multi-touch point resident surveys, as part of their retention-focused customer experience program. Current clients include most major apartment developers, management companies, and REITs. Through Renter’s Voice, Ellis helps clients promote and respond to authentic and objective apartment reviews. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Texas A&M, Ms. Ellis has spent more than 25 years in the multifamily industry, and she now holds both the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Property Supervisor (CAPS). She is also a licensed Texas Real Estate Agent. In honor of EPMS’ reputation for integrity, the Dallas Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals awarded Joanna, on behalf of the company, the 2008 Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award for mid-size companies.

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