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The IKEA Effect in Customer Support and Customer Experience



In the ever-evolving landscape of customer support and customer experince, a fascinating trend has emerged, drawing parallels with the IKEA Effect. Coined by Michael I. Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely in 2011, the IKEA Effect refers to the psychological phenomenon where individuals derive greater satisfaction and value from products or services they actively participate in creating. This effect has found a unique resonance in the realm of customer support, particularly among the younger generation, who are increasingly embracing the idea of assembling their own solutions through a company's website and support services.


The Shift Towards Self-Service


Traditionally, the go-to method for seeking customer support has been a direct phone call to the company. However, a noticeable shift is underway, with more and more customers expressing a preference for self-service options. The IKEA Effect in customer support mirrors the joy and fulfillment individuals experience when actively involved in resolving their issues. This shift is particularly prominent among younger demographics, who find satisfaction in navigating a company's self-service portal, be it through traditional FAQ pages or more advanced AI-powered solutions.


The Digital Landscape and the IKEA Effect


The digital age has ushered in a new era of customer support, where companies are leveraging technology to provide intuitive and user-friendly self-service platforms. A prime example is the proliferation of AI-powered solutions that guide users through troubleshooting, FAQs, and interactive support tools. Venk Korla, the president and CEO of HGS Digital, emphasizes the importance of these digital advancements, stating that a well-designed self-service experience not only resolves issues but also leaves customers grateful for the company's commitment to providing an easy and fulfilling support journey.


The HGS Buyers Insight Report


To gain deeper insights into this emerging trend, we turn to the HGS Buyers Insight Report, a comprehensive study recently released by HGS Digital. The report sheds light on the investments made by customer experience (CX) leaders in AI and digital self-support. The findings underscore the growing significance of creating a seamless self-service experience, not only for customers but also for employees.


In a conversation with Venk Korla, he draws a compelling parallel between the IKEA Effect and customer service. He highlights that customers who successfully resolve their issues through a brand's self-service portal, whether it's through traditional web-based FAQs or cutting-edge AI solutions, not only enjoy the experience but also develop a sense of gratitude towards the company for facilitating such a user-friendly and satisfying process.


The Impact on Customer Behavior


As companies continue to invest in enhancing their self-service capabilities, the impact on customer behavior becomes evident. Research, sponsored by RingCentral, reveals that while the phone remains the primary mode of interaction with brands, a substantial 26% of customers stopped doing business with companies lacking robust self-service options. This statistic becomes even more noteworthy when considering the generational divide, with younger consumers displaying a clear preference for self-service solutions over traditional methods.


Younger Generations Leading the Charge


The affinity for the IKEA Effect in customer support is notably pronounced among younger generations. These digital natives, accustomed to navigating online platforms and seeking instant solutions, are drawn to the autonomy and empowerment that self-service options provide. Unlike their older counterparts, younger individuals are more likely to explore and utilize the resources available on a company's website before resorting to a phone call.


The IKEA Effect, once confined to the realm of furniture assembly, has transcended into the domain of customer support, becoming a noteworthy trend, particularly among the younger demographic. As companies invest in AI and digital self-support, the shift towards self-service options is gaining momentum. The joy derived from actively participating in issue resolution is reshaping customer preferences and influencing the design of customer support platforms. Embracing the IKEA Effect in customer support is not merely a trend but a strategic imperative for businesses looking to meet the evolving expectations of today's consumers.

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