How to Reduce Friction


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As most of you (hopefully know), my latest book, The Convenience Revolution, is all about making the customer experience as frictionless as possible. In the book, there are six Convenience Principles with plenty of examples, and many of our followers have read my articles and watched my videos on these powerful concepts. The other day I was interviewed and asked, “How does one get started?”

My flippant answer could have been, “Read the book and find out,” but instead I gave an answer that was simple and applicable to any type and any size business. Now, this is a very basic explanation of the process. It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s where you want to start.

  1. Identify touchpoints: First, start with mapping out every touchpoint your customer has 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.
  2. 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 as detailed as possible.
  3. 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?
  4. 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. That’s a combination that is hard to beat.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


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