Simple is simple. Simple doesn’t always mean easy. And, sometimes simple is actually hard to pull off. But some companies have mastered the art of simplicity. And, in doing so, they created customer experiences that are easier, frictionless, and more desirable.
Siegle+Gale recently released their Global Brand Simplicity Index, and, for the third straight year, Aldi, the grocery store chain, ranked first – or should I say simplest. The grocer won this honor because of a number of things, but most notably for their “uncomplicated offers.”
So, I started thinking about the experiences that I’ve had that are simple. I remember going to The Homestead, a restaurant in upstate New York. There weren’t menus. They didn’t need them. I’ll never forget what the server said when it was time for us to order. She said, “We have three things that we serve at The Homestead. We have steak. We have lobster. And, we have steak and lobster.” She added, “Let me know if that doesn’t appeal to you and we’ll find something else for you.”
It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
You may be familiar with In-N-Out Burger. This is the hamburger chain that is known for high quality, fresh burgers and fries. And, by the way, other than drinks, which include soft drinks and milk shakes, that’s all they serve; burgers and fries. Of course you can add a slice of cheese to the burger, but what you won’t find is a chicken sandwich or any other option that takes away from the beautifully simple concept of In-N-Out Burger.
Chic-fil-A is another example. They expanded from chicken sandwiches to chicken wraps and salads with chicken. What you won’t find is a hamburger.
Ted Drewes is a frozen custard stand that sells frozen custard. Nothing else. You can’t get regular ice cream. You can’t get gelato. You can only get desserts with frozen custard. If you want a piece of chocolate cake for dessert, you’ll have to go somewhere else.
MetLife created “insurance in a box.” I wrote about this a few years ago. I can’t speak to the success of the product, but MetLife did create a super-simple way to buy life insurance. You go to Walmart, take the box, which clearly states the details of a very simple life insurance policy, to the cashier, pay for it, and go home and register. The goal was to create the simplest way to buy life insurance, ever.
Think about how easy it is to buy something on Amazon.com. Once you set up your account, you can find an item you want and use their “one-click” check-out process. Just one click and you’ve bought it. Simplicity at the highest level.
Simplicity can enhance the customer experience and give you a competitive advantage. What else do you need to be convinced to take a look at the experience your customer has with you, and where you can simplify the process?