How to Reduce Customer Friction

Customers meeting with saleswomen

One of the most important ways to improve the customer experience is to make it easier for customers to do business with you. Shep Hyken explains. 

As many of you may know, my latest book, The Convenience Revolution, is all about making the customer experience as frictionless as possible. The other day when I was interviewed about the book I was asked, “How does one get started?”

To answer this question and to provide a very basic explanation of the process, I have outlined some of the key steps below.

Identify touchpoints. First, start with mapping out every touchpoint your customers have with any aspect of your company. It can be an interaction on your website, a form they fill out, the checkout process, how they are greeted when they walk in your store or building, how the phone is answered, how the invoice is received, and much, much more. Every touchpoint must be identified.

Details count. Be as detailed as possible with every touchpoint. For example, if you sell from your website, how many steps does it take for a customer to check out? How many lines of information do they fill out? Get it as detailed as possible.

Analyze each touchpoint. This is the fun part of the process. At each touchpoint, look for a way to reduce friction. Where can you eliminate a step? Where can you eliminate or reduce a customer’s effort? Is there any redundancy that can be eliminated? Can you deliver rather than make the customer come to you?

Execute. Now that you’ve identified (in great detail) and analyzed the touchpoints, you’re not finished until you take action.

Even the smallest reduction of friction counts. And, sometimes it makes you money. For example, the Wall Street Journal reduced friction by shortening their online checkout form. Some customers were not completing the checkout process. The WSJ experimented by shortening the process. Every unnecessary field removed from the checkout flow raised the conversion rate by as much as 1-3%.

Amazon all but eliminated the typical checkout process with their “Buy Now with 1-Click®” option. And, then they did one better with the Amazon Dash buttons. You push a button that looks like a doorbell and your product just shows up. I could imagine a group of smart Amazon employees sitting around the table answering the question, “I wonder if there is a way for our customers to order products without having to turn on their computer or open an app on their smartphone?” The result was Dash buttons.

The goal of reducing friction is to make the experience convenient and save the customer time. So, have a great product, offer great customer service and be more convenient. It’s a combination that’s hard to beat.

About the Author

Shep Hyken is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a professional speaker and best-selling author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.

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