Friction as it relates to the customer experience is the newest buzzword, and it’s a simple concept to grasp. Friction, simply put, is any obstacle that gets in the way of your customers doing business with you, whether it’s making a purchase, getting the information they need, or providing you with information that will help make their future experiences better.
Here are some examples of friction in the customer’s world:
1. Shelves poorly arranged or organized, with no visible staff available to help – this makes it hard to purchase items customers need the most
2. Lengthy process to join a loyalty program, especially at the point of sale – I was recently in a shoe store and they asked if I’d like to join their loyalty program. After taking the cashier up on the offer, I spent the next five minutes providing her with all of my pertinent information. I regretted accepting the invitation and felt bad for the customers waiting in line behind me.
3. If your customer feedback program isn’t getting the response you’d like, are you making the survey too long, causing friction? Make it easy for customers to tell you what they think of your business.
4. A long checkout process for web orders. Make it easy for customers to make their purchases. Keep all of the pertinent information, such as delivery cost and time frame, at the beginning of the purchase transaction so it’s clear from the beginning. Don’t surprise customers at the final moment of submitting payment information – this type of friction can lose a sale.
These are some basic examples of friction in the customer experience. It’s a good idea to periodically review your stores, procedures, and processes for providing customer service from a devil’s advocate perspective to ensure that you are not creating friction for your customers.