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Part One: What is Customer Friction and Why is it Important?

October 10, 2017
Debbie Schwake, VP Marketing

Friction is anything that causes your customer to hesitate as they move through (or completely leave) your conversion funnel or your company. Whether you’re B2C or B2B, selling a product or a service, creating a frictionless experience for your customer is essential to longevity, increasing conversions, and building brand loyalty.

Here’s a short list of customer friction examples, but every business will be different:

  • Poor website quality
  • Long wait time on services
  • Uninformed sales staff
  • Slow (and/or expensive) delivery fees
  • Limited business hours

Frictionless is the present. And the future.

Millennials demand frictionless experiences with no barriers to converting. Because digital innovation has been the norm for their entire lives, Millennials have higher expectations for brands to deliver simplicity. To them, being always on the go is an everyday reality and they have been the ones to push technology to make transactions faster, simpler and more convenient.

Brands that provide frictionless experiences will benefit from millennial loyalty while those whose conversion path is aggravating or difficult will not.

But just because millennials are driving this bus don’t think Gen X and baby boomers aren’t interested – and that’s not even touching on Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2010). An entire generation raised on Google may be too young to properly define, but you can expect friction to not be on their wish lists. And since they are expected to make up 33% of the US population by 2020, it’s worth threading them into your long-term forecasting now.

Reducing customer friction is vital

Your customers are on a journey through your conversion funnel. Your job is to anticipate their next step. In fact, they want you to help them; they are looking for bread crumbs and you should be there holding a big bold sign.

It isn’t enough to offer good customer service when an issue occurs. Yes, you have to do that too, but the real necessity is preventing the issue in the first place. You need to reduce customer friction and provide them with an effortless and convenient experience.

In research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was determined that exceeding expectations with customer service when an issue arises is not as good as simply meeting their needs in the first place.

Removing obstacles makes it easy for your customer to do what they want to do – which should also be what you want them to do.

Let’s sum it up.

  1. Customer friction is anything that prevents your customer from moving through your conversion funnel.
  2. Millennials are leading the demand for frictionless experiences.
  3. It’s vital to reduce customer friction, providing as friction-free an experience as possible, to increase conversions and build brand loyalty.

 

Read:
Part Two: How to Identify Customer Friction