I remember a couple of instances when I was young, when my Mum polished the slide in our local park. She actually took a duster and a can of polish in her bag along to the park when we played.
The slide itself was really high to start with, probably because in part I was quite small at the time being about 6 or 7 years of age. But it certainly seemed high enough at the time. An all metal thing it was with wrought iron steps and a shiny and literally ‘polished’ slide surface. Just standing on the top step was enough to give you butterflies, let alone the sliding experience that was to follow especially after my Mum had been busy with the Mr Sheen!
Photo courtesy of Celeste Burke
It was a great experience. Fast, thrilling and without friction to slow me or my friends down and one we could repeat again and again until tea time.
It’s the same with customer experience. The more ‘friction’ in a business process, and the more resistance that a customer encounters, then the less satisfying the customer experience will be overall. The greater the number of steps the customer has to go through or the more forms they have to fill out or boxes to fill in on a web page, then the higher the perceived level of effort will be from the customer’s perspective, irrespective of what the actual level of effort is in reality.
This raises the probability that the customer experience will be less than desirable, if indeed they actually complete the process in the first place. If they do actually get through the process, will they think that is was too difficult and so be unlikely to return and buy again?
Recent figures suggest online shopping cart abandonments now reach into the billions of pounds each year and is rising steadily, in part due to the fact that checkout processes create way too much friction for customers. That’s a significant loss to business given the amount of time, effort and money invested in getting customers to a website in the first place. Even instore, abandoned purchase rates are high because customers feel they have to queue for too long before being able to pay.
So in order to reduce friction and improve the customer experience, there’s a number of options available;
- Gather feedback around customer effort directly from customers. Get an understanding of how much effort customers have to go to in order to buy your products or use your services and at each steps of their journey.
- Where customers spend a large amount of effort, look at ways to simplify the process by reducing the number of steps customers have to go to or by speeding up the overall time the process takes to complete. Always try and see and experience how processes work from the customer’s perspective.
- Map the customer journey. Ensure that business processes are aligned to the customer journey and that it’s as effortless and frictionless as is realistically and commercial viable for you.
Simple? It should be. Reduce friction, improve the customer experience. Happy sliding!