Customer friction is a key factor in why people abandon a website, leave a store without buying, disconnect from a monthly service plan, and the list goes on. In previous articles, I’ve written about the need to make the customer journey SIMPLE, EASY and PROBLEM-FREE. This includes the post-purchase return experience. Today, I’m pleased to share a guest post by Customer Service Expert & Author, Shep Hyken, who knows a lot about Customer Convenience. I love Shep’s article because by understanding WHAT CAUSES customer friction, people can better AVOID and ELIMINATE it to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. The following is what Shep has to say about how companies and employees create customer friction, which drives shoppers away.
“HERE’S A QUESTION…..
What is it that you don’t like about some of the companies and organizations you do business with? As an example, there is always a company that makes me go through their entire advertising pitch before anyone picks up the phone. I’ve practically memorized it. It’s frustrating that I am forced to listen to that recording every time I call. That’s friction.
There are TEN WAYS companies (and employees) create friction. They are “convenience infractions” that potentially drive away customers.
- Bad policies: I hate when someone does something that seems like a waste of time, and then blames it on a policy or gives me a negative response to a question and says, “It’s company policy.”
- Duplicate paperwork: I’m always amazed at the amount of duplicate paperwork that is filled out. I recently talked to an executive of a bank, and he mentioned it was a big problem.
- Cumbersome technology: Hard-to-navigate websites drive away customers.
- Broken anything: If something is broken, the moment you find out about it, start fixing it. I’m surprised at what isn’t fixed in a reasonable period of time.
- Making customers wait: Sometimes a wait is inevitable. However, if you make a customer wait, let them know how long. Then don’t be late!
- Inconsistent information: When a customer gets two or more different answers to the same question, what pain do you cause their brain? Confusion is friction.
- Poorly trained employees: It can tie into inconsistent information, but it’s more than that. Employees that demonstrate a lack of knowledge or competency frustrates customers. Frustration is friction.
- Not being able to talk to a person: This is also frustrating. Some companies make it hard to get to a person. If a customer is on a website and needs help, there should always be a human fallback.
- A bad customer experience design: The concept of CX design is a hot topic. Companies are assigning executive titles to the person in charge of “design.” This isn’t designing labels and packaging. This is designing the total end-to-end experience the customer has with your company. This is the person in charge of eliminating friction!
- Anything that wastes a customer’s time: This is more than putting a customer on a long hold. When it comes to business, the opposite of friction is easy, as in convenient. Much of convenience is not just being easy, but also saving the customer time. Anything that doesn’t save the customer time, or wastes their valuable time, is friction. This isn’t meant to be a rant. It’s simply a list of some of the ways companies frustrate their customers and cause friction. And, it’s only a partial list.”
What are your thoughts on THe Top 10 list?
Do you agree with Shep’s examples? I definitely do, especially the importance of saving customer’s time as it can be a brand’s differentiator. I suggest reading more about “CX and The Gift of Time” and ways to reduce the level of effort for your customers in the new year.
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Also published on Medium.