Communication essentials: KISS

I remember the first time someone told me what the KISS acronym meant. My response? “Ah, I get it. Wait … who are you calling stupid?”

The fourth ‘S’ does stand for stupid. But there’s nothing stupid about working hard to simplify … anything.

This is especially true today. I’m not going to throw a bunch of stats at you to illustrate just how little time we have to get through to our customer. You all know this. What we don’t all know is how do we simplify? Which brings us to today’s communication essential: simplifying.

Harvard Business Review started me thinking about this with its article last week on the topic:

“4 Strategies to Simplify the Customer Journey”

I hope you find time to read it, but in case you don’t, I do want to call out the article’s mention of the customer journey itself.

The reason I feel so strongly about this part in particular is that if we do nothing else in 2021, it should be to realize that things don’t just look different—they are different. Everything has changed and warrants a closer look—is it still working? Do we need to tweak it? What’s changed and what can I control?

The customer journey is a perfect example of this. Think about how all of our buying behaviors changed over the past year. Why wouldn’t we be putting our customer journey under the microscope? Consider this excerpt:

To make sure you’re prioritizing simplicity throughout your customer journey, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How can we make it easier for customers to understand and evaluate our offerings? Could we provide fewer products, features, or capabilities without compromising the effectiveness of our solution?
  • How can we create targeted marketing campaigns that speak to customers in their language, at the time and place that is most useful to them?
  • How can we make our pricing more transparent and consistent? Varying prices based on loyalty, season, purchase location, channel, or demographics can increase profits, but they also increase complexity for the customer.
  • How can we optimize in-store layout and leverage point-of-sale technologies (tools such as automated recommendations for related products, mobile payments, etc.) to create a frictionless purchasing experience?

Any one of these questions would be a great place to start. Which is a great transition to my last point—getting started. Simple should be your inspiration for that too. Waiting for everything to be perfect, every question to be answered, every fact to be found will result in one thing—you never getting started.

Maybe we can remind ourselves of this by swapping ‘stupid’ for another S-word: start.