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Roman Burič How to Make Things Easy for Your Customers
Neuro Agent

There is still truth to the old saying, “Keep it simple” when it comes to your call to action. If you expect your customers to follow through on their end, you need to streamline the process for minimal customer effort that translates to smoother experiences, customer success, and satisfaction. Roman Burič of Mindworx, reminds us that simple, seamless, and satisfying is  the key to winning your audience.

How to Make Things Easy for Your Customers Summary

Key Takeaways

  • The perception of effort is more influential than the actual effort required.
  • Clear, easy navigation and straightforward communication are crucial for reducing perceived effort.
  • Chunking processes into smaller steps can significantly reduce customer effort perception.
  • Utilizing clear language and direct instructions improves customer journey and increases conversions.

How to Make Things Easy for Your Customers Episode Transcript

Rich: My guest today is a senior behavioral consultant and copywriter at Mindworx. He has a PhD in experimental psychology and almost ended up being a scientist. However, he realized that he much prefers a more agile environment and now specializes in applying the latest insights of consumer psychology to business, helping his clients to grow.

His role is to create a simple, easy to grasp, yet persuasive communication that appeals to customers subconscious heuristics. Today, we’re going to be diving into the psychology of perceived effort and how to make things easier on your prospects so that you can generate more leads online, with Roman Burič.  Roman, welcome to the podcast.

Roman: Hi there. Thanks for having me.

Rich: I’m excited. I discovered you when I read a recent email from Mindworx, your company, entitled The Make or Break Factor for Customer Engagement. And as it turned out, that factor was perceived effort. So before we jump in, can you explain what ‘perceived effort’ is?

Roman: Oh, absolutely. Perceived effort, you can imagine how hard it feels to do something. Not how hard it objectively is, but how hard it feels for customers or for anybody.

Rich: And so the goal is to reduce that perception that there’s a lot of work to be done, to make sure that they move forward.

Roman: Yeah, because, you usually want people to do something when you’re in business, right? You want your customers to do something, to register, to buy, or do anything. But in order to do that, they need to perceive it as easy to do. And that as actual research shows, it’s much more important that objective effort, the friction is important as well, how hard it really is. But the way more important factor is how hard it feels for the customers.

Rich: Awesome. Now, in the email you reference the never-ending blocks of unstructured text as a stumbling block for getting site visitors or email subscribers to take action. And we’ve all faced that wall of words that you can’t even start to read because there’s just too many of them. What are some of the common things that you see business doing wrong when it comes to their site and perceived effort?

Roman: Oh, there’s too many things to go through them. But one of the most important ones is it’s really hard to navigate. You put a good example with the unstructured text. When you read something, whether it’s email or web page, the customer needs to see that this is really easy to navigate, it won’t take too much effort. Because we are creatures of habit and we don’t like spending too much time and effort on something because of the evolution. We are really trying to preserve energy. We don’t like hard work.

So yeah, when we are on some page on the webpage, it needs to really be clear what we want to tell the customer, what we want them to do. One of the most important thing is for the site to be easy to navigate, and to be really clear what we want the customer to do.

Rich: What are some of the things that would make the navigation more difficult or easier to help that customer along with their own customer journey?

Roman: I would say there could be plenty of things. Like we can start with basics. Let’s say you are sending your customer direct emails. One of the most crucial things is how hard is the information you are putting out to process. For example, it doesn’t happen too often but it might be the case that you just use a hard to process font, like some fancy font and it’s just really hard to process and people constantly can evaluate that this is hard to read and they just won’t do it. That’s just one thing.

Another one is your communication might be just way too long. Because how long the text is, whether it’s an email or website, the key element for us to evaluate how hard it will be to go through. Because we don’t like to spend energy, spend time. And if it’s too long, we just won’t go through it because we think it’s too much work, too much time.

There’s plenty of other things. For example, companies often use some online funnels, right? If you want people to register or to buy something, there’s always an online funnel which consists of a couple of steps you need to go through. And these are usually not that easy to go through and it feels too hard.

What you need to do, for example, is to clearly chunk the process into multiple smaller steps. Because again, we very quickly evaluate when there’s too many steps it will be hard to do, I won’t do it. So yeah, that’s another one.

Also, you need to use clear language. Because when I read the first sentence that you use and I see that it’s really hard to understand words, some corporate, bureaucratic, official word statements which evoke that it will be hard, too complicated words, then I will again evaluate very quickly that this will be hard to do, and I just won’t read the rest. So yeah, these are basic mistakes people often do, companies often do.

Rich: All right, those are some good examples. So one of them that you mentioned, like through any online funnel, there may be too many steps, or it feels too big. So what are some of the things that you advise your clients to do to make it feel like it’s easier?

Roman: So there, there are a couple of things that we advise all the time. First one is, you need to structure your instructions. Because one thing is okay. Let’s stick with the email communication. You are sending your clients an email and you want them to do something. The first thing is that the client needs to go through email. Let’s say they do that, and ideally there’s call to action that leads to the funnel. And what you need to do is to instruct them very clearly, and put the structure into your instructions.

For example, in order to register you need to follow these three easy steps. And then you name step one, step two, step three, and you’re done. Ideally you also need to tell clients how long it will take them, because that’s a very direct estimate of how much time it will take me.

And if you tell me, for example, it won’t take you longer than five minutes, no problem. Everybody has five minutes. They can do it. But if they don’t know how long it will take them, it can really drive them away, like when the funnel is pretty complicated and you need to go through a lot of input fields and fill a lot of information.

So yeah, what you need to do is to chunk the online process. For example, if the registration to multiple smaller steps. It could be like. You can do it artificially. It doesn’t need to make that much sense why something is divided into categories, but it needs to be maybe a little bit more steps. But if you divide it into more steps, they’re usually smaller, into instead of one giant online form or something like that.

So let’s say instead of one giant form, I have five easy steps. And if every one of these steps include three or four questions, I can do that. It’s not that hard. Another thing is when we did that, we have a five-step process, five step online funnel, it’s always a good thing to show the progress. You are in the first step out of five, or you’re in the second step out of five, so the customer always sees how much work they’ve already done and how much effort is required.

Rich: That’s really interesting. Because I’ve read before that sometimes once people have started a process, they’ve committed to it, they don’t like to stop that process because they don’t want to lose the work that they’ve already done. Even if they’re in step two of ten.

I even remember reading something in a book where they talked about they got better results when they gave people a punch card for frequent lunches, and they punched the first two of twelve versus giving somebody a brand-new card of ten. They still had to buy the same amount of sandwiches, but suddenly they were invested with it. So I can see there being a benefit from that aspect as well. Would you agree?

Roman: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly it. When we put some effort into something, we don’t want to stop, because we already put some effort in it so we would like to finish it.

And yeah, I also read about the example, and it really works. It’s a little thing, but it works. So that’s why we need to show the progress. If you are in the third step out of five, and you already see how much information you already filled in, you will be much more likely to finish the process. And then the perceived effort is not the only thing that’s important. And this progress bar shows you how much effort you already put into this.

And this is another cognitive bias, it’s called the IKEA effect. And that’s if you’re participating in something, you value it much more. So if you put some effort into something, you are much more likely to finish the process.

Rich: Oh, that’s very interesting as well. It’s funny. It reminds me just the other day I had to log into my bank’s website. And before I could get to any of my accounts it showed me something that says, “you’re only one step away from accomplishing X, Y, or Z.” And I was just about to click on it when I realized I actually hadn’t taken anything. And I thought that was such a brilliant piece of marketing because it looks like I’m 80% of the way there, but I realized before I clicked on it that I actually hadn’t done anything. I thought that was some very clever subterfuge on their part to get me to download their app or whatever it was that they wanted me to do.

Roman: Yeah. And what they did is they used the words that evoke that, it’s easy to do. As I mentioned, you don’t want to use words like it is ‘required’. But when you use word such as ‘one more step’, all you need to do is’, it really evokes that it won’t be that hard to do and it won’t take you that much time. They’ll be much more likely to do it.

Rich: You talked a little bit about using clear language, and then I think you clarified that there’s almost these words that we can use, magic words if you will, that will lower that perceived effort. What are some of the words that we can use to get people to move forward through perhaps a series of steps that they might not otherwise want to complete? How do we sell them on that?

Roman: Yeah, to be clear, these are not like some magic beans. But yeah, good wording is always important. And what do you want to do? Yeah, you want to use words like ‘three easy steps’ or as I mentioned, ‘it won’t take you much longer,’ or ‘it won’t take you longer than two or three minutes’, ‘all you need to do is this.’ There are many words that you can use that evoke easiness, like ease of the process.

Rich: One of the things that every website, almost every website, has is a form. And you’ve talked a little bit about this, but there are times when we just need to get a certain amount of information from a client or from a prospect, and it may be more than they feel is worth the effort. You talked about ‘chunking’. Are there any other tactics that we can use on those forms to make it feel easier for people to get them to fill out the form more simply.

Roman: Oh, yeah. We are talking about perceived effort, right? So we need to make it feel easy, as easy to do, is to actually make it shorter.

What I encountered many times was that some information that you want from clients can be pre-filled by default, for example. Because you usually already have some information when it’s your existing client, for example, so you can prefill the information for them to save s some work, some effort.

What also happens often is that there are two, three, or four questions that ask for really very similar thing, so you can just make it really shorter and delete some questions. You won’t lose that much data. And if you do scratch some questions, if you pre-fill them, if you actually make it shorter by chunking it into multiple steps, you can make it like much easier to go through and actually shorter.

Rich: I had an experience, Roman, years ago where I took the contact form on our website and actually put it down at the bottom of all of our service pages, and really just asked for name, email, and phone number. And I saw a dramatic increase in the number of people who filled out that contact form because it was so easy. But then I realized I had made it too easy. And so people were filling out the form that really weren’t good fits for us. And like you said, I actually added a second stage. So after they filled that out, it took them to a second page of the form that asked them some more questions. And I saw a direct drop off in the number of people who filled that out, but an increase in the quality of the leads that we got through that form.

So sometimes I think you almost have to find that balance for what your type of business is Sometimes if you make it too easy you just attract what we call in the United States, the tire kickers, the people who are only interested in getting some information but they’re never going to actually move forward. So I don’t know if you’ve ever run into something like that, where you’ve tried to make a form more difficult just to make sure that the leads that you’re getting are the value and quality that you’re looking for.

Roman: That’s a whole different story. But yeah, we encountered that. Usually it’s not the case. Usually the companies are glad when people can finish the process. I would say that forms that are too easy to go through are much more rare, but it can be the case.

And then there’s the matter of good targeting. You want to target the right people, but that’s a whole different story. You need to create good target groups, good personas, and use good triggers for communication to take these people to act so you just have quality over quantity.

Rich: So you work for Mindworx. Tell me a little bit about what Mindworx does, and how you work with the clients you work with.

Roman: We are a consultancy. What we do is we are experts in consumer psychology and behavioral economics and applied behavioral economics. What that means is, we advise our clients on what to say and how to say it so that it works, just to put it simply. But to not make it too easy for you, what we do is basically we understand why people do what they do, what drives their behavior, what holds them back. And that’s really what you need to work with when you have a client of any sort.

You need to understand their behavior, you need to understand what they think, how do they feel, and how you can work with it to for example, drive your sales or conversions or basically do anything that you want them to do. So yeah we are expert in that in consumer psychology and we use this knowledge to help companies to drive more sales, drive more conversions, just simply to be more persuasive, for example. But also to be much clearer in their communications so clients actually know what they’re required to do. Then it’s much clearer to the customers what the company is even offering. So yeah, we are making their communication much more persuasive.

And also, I mentioned targeting of the clients. So we are helping also with the targeting of the clients, we are helping with creating better triggers for the communication, and stuff like that.

Rich: All right. Now when we chatted before Roman, you referenced the book, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. How has this book influenced your own thinking and your consulting?

Roman: Oh yeah, this book has influenced basically my whole life. Because that was my introduction to behavioral economics quite some time before I joined Mindworx, actually. So because of this book I actually wanted to become a scientist and do some research in this area. And to be clear, a lot of the knowledge in this book is a bit too old, there’s newer stuff out there. But I really recommend this book for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of how people think, what drives their behavior, and what mistakes they do in their thinking and their reasoning.

And that books really put some direction to my life. I wanted to become a scientist, and as I mentioned, I ended up as a consultant, and now I can apply this knowledge of Kahneman in practice.

Rich: That’s awesome. I read that book a long time ago, and I think it’s time for me to go back and give it another read.

So you mentioned that some of the stuff might be out of date or just has been dated. Is there a book right now that you’ve read in the past few years that you would recommend something on the same level?

Roman: There are a lot of great books. What I can recommend, I can recommend a lot of them, but these are not some new breakthroughs or something like that. But if somebody really wants to understand behavioral economics, I often recommend books of Daniel Ariely. Dan Ariely has a great book, actually my colleague Matej, who founded Mindworx, found it because one of the books of Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational. I highly recommend that, and it’s a really great introduction to this.

Right now I specialize in copywriting, so I’m trying to put all of this knowledge into words to create a persuasive communication. Right now I’m reading more copywriting stuff, which is a bit more advanced, but I would highly recommend going through some Dan Ariely stuff. You certainly won’t regret that. And also the good basic for behavioral economics is Robert Cialdini’s Influence. Which is also not the newest book, but it’s really good.

Rich: Yeah, and he actually has just come out again recently. I see him everywhere online recently and he’s been putting on webinars, so he seems to be having resurgence as well.

Roman this has been great. I want to thank you for your time and the resources you mentioned. If people want to learn more about you or learn more about Mindworx, where can we send them online?

Roman: Yeah, you can check our website. You can go to mindworx.net. You can go to our LinkedIn. You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m sure you can find us when you Google Mindworx. The first thing you will see, it’ll be our company. So yeah, check that out.

Rich: Awesome. And we’ll also put those links in the show notes. Roman, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it.

Roman: Thank you very much. It was great.


Show Notes:

Roman Burič is an advocate for the power of minimal customer effort, and has helped businesses navigate the path to success through strategic simplicity. Check out what his team is doing at Mindworx, and be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 25+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.