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by Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva®

Staples hit on something big when they rolled out their easy campaign a couple years ago and then got the bonus points for actually producing the novelty branded “easy” buttons. Besides great message building they achieved, they also contributed up to one million dollars to The Boys and Girls Club form the proceeds of the pop-culture Easy button gadgets.

Easy button

As I relocated back to Florida from Georgia this month, I had a slew of some very easy, enjoyable experiences and a handful of “what the heck were these brand owners thinking?” too. Moving is already such stress bomb, it would seem companies would make the easy factor an experience priority.

Here’s a quick snap shot of some EASY winners and “what a nightmare” losers.

These companies earn my loyalty. They deliver on a need and it was easy to make happen!

PODS, what a great concept, company and team of pros. From discovery/vendor evaluation, pricing, to logistics. Moving with a POD gives your scheduling and packing freedom. It was simple and easy.

US Post Master, address change all on the net. It was simple and easy. Just don’t try to get them on the phone if you are looking for a local office.

State of Florida SunPass, buy the gadget at any Walgreens, activate on line. Never dig for toll change again. It was simple and easy and set up can happen 24/7.

Meetup.com, quickly jump in to a new business ans personal meetup networks. Get all the inside scoop about everyone involved, invites, RSVPs and stay connected, It was simple and easy.

NOT EASY, in fact, difficult, stressful and just thinking about these brands puts me in a bad mood. If I didn’t have to use these companies or it was such a hassle to change, I’d be a big non buyer.

Verizon local telephone service. I have been a customer of Verizon’s for over 20 years. They are the local service provider in Tampa. I tried calling them for three days straight and could not get through. And, to make matters worse, if you hang up, you have to go through their awful phone tree again.

Bellsouth. Moving to another company’s service area should not cause you pain and aggravation.
Someone should tell that to Bellsouth. If your new number is out of their system, forget a free message telling your pals about your new number, it won’t happen. So I elected to pay $13.00 a month for a voice mail only service where I can inform anyone who calls my old number that I have moved. Seems like after being on the line for over 45 minutes one would be able to accomplish this, wrong. My number was accidently disconnected. So here I go again, another 45 minutes to correct the mess up.

Bank of America. It seems like a company this big would be able to have one easy phone number and Web contact list to find what you need. Instead, they have at least 4 silos of service departments. I frequently experience the pass around dance and often get disconnected to find a simple answer. There must have been a big sale sale on the most annoying phones trees, and BOA stocked up.

Have you assessed the EASY factor when someone does business with your company? If not, make this an experience audit priority. Here some key places to take look at. Jump into your customers’, vendors’ and even employees’ shoes.

1. How easy is it to find information on your company?
2. How easy is it to find your contact info? Both on your Web site and through a telephone operator?
3. How easy is it to review your pricing and product and service offerings before they buy?
4. How easy is it to get help after hours or when there is a timely issue?
5. How easy is it to change an order? A shipping address?
6. How easy is it to cancel a service?
7. How easy is it to understand your contract?

In our world of complex, difficult and very confusing everything, make sure your EASY factor is a marketing/branding priority. I think you’ll find more happy customers.

About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She is has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com, an idea engine for creative professionals and business. Her work has benefited large and small organizations in the United States and around the world.