The Easy Button Drives Adoption
By Sarah Pierce, IN10T VP Commercial Services
Have you ever thought to take the time to ride along in the buddy seat as a farmer tries out your product? The experience provides quite a bit of insight into what it takes for producers to implement your products or technologies. In other words, it’s a great opportunity to understand their Customer Effort Score.
Customer Effort Score, or CES is a term applied to a single-item metric that measures how much time, energy or effort a customer has to exert to effectively implement your product or utilize your technology, get an issue resolved, a request filled, a product purchased/returned or a question answered.
Quite often in agriculture, we’re so focused on the yield benefits or product performance that we overlook the fact that farmers, like all business owners, are busy. Efficiencies matter. There simply aren’t enough hours or labor to accomplish everything that needs to be done. And unlike other industries, because of Mother Nature, quite often farmers’ window of opportunity to accomplish tasks is quite brief. So, even though the performance of a product or technology may meet expectations, farmers also care about its ease of use.
If you’re not taking the effort factor or CES into consideration as you launch your new product or service, you are missing a key driver of purchase intentions.
And this is backed by research:
- In 2010, researchers found reducing customer effort directly impacts loyalty.
This finding echoes what farmers are saying. Working as an advocate to drive product adoption for much of my career, I’ve spent many hours sitting in on farmer focus groups, speaking directly with farmers and analyzing market research data on what drives future purchase intentions.
Although farmers don’t refer to it as “Customer Effort Score,” they do talk about efficiencies – nearly as much as they talk about yields. And if your product slows them down during planting or means they need to hire more labor or invest in new equipment; it may not make it past the trial phase on their farm.
Make it EASY
Remember, as business owners, farmers’ time is money. Throughout the growing season they have hundreds of decisions to make. The outcomes of these decisions need to work together to meet their performance goals.
Often, farmers know which product or service under trial on their farm they will stick with even before they harvest. If you want it to be yours, you need to ensure it not only performs, but it is easy to use. And how are you able to improve your product or technology’s Customer Effort Score? You first need to understand what it is about. Is it the product, service or technology that causes friction? Who better to let you know than the farmers trying out your product?
Now, I realize riding along as producers trial products isn’t a practical suggestion. This is where surveys of IN10T FarmerTrials participants come in. Throughout the growing season IN10T surveys and connects with farmers multiple times throughout their journey. Along with questions about product performance and field observations, we have customized questions designed to address the experiential aspects of the product including ease of use – or the Customer Effort Score.
And because we seek to listen and understand our FarmerTrials network of farmers, we “hear” what they are saying and sharing across social media channels. We also glean quite a bit of feedback simply visiting with them when we’re on site during field visits.
Farmers are problem solvers. They are eager to share suggestions on how a product or technology they are testing could work better or be easier to implement on their farm. You simply need to know how to ask the right questions and listen. They want to be your partner in advancing agriculture. Why not partner with them directly?
As farming operations increase in complexity, this key metric will become even more important to consider in the early phases of product development all the way through full commercialization. We all want the easy button.
Want to learn more? Let’s talk.