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Reducing customer friction can not only improve your customer experience but also help increase sales and build brand loyalty over time.
Do your customers get “friction” when they interact with your company? Customer friction is any step in the customer experience that impedes the customer from buying your product, having success with your product, or finding value in their interaction with you and your company. Between short attention spans and thin patience levels, organizations need to focus on creating frictionless customer experiences. Reducing customer friction can not only improve your customer experience but also help increase sales and build brand loyalty over time.
What is the role of information management in customer experience? The term “friction” is commonly used in marketing as it indicates a potential sticking point for a customer in their interaction with a company. In short, too much friction in the marketing and sales process holds an organization back from performing as it should. Friction often results in a lost customer.
The same kind of friction can afflict your everyday work processes as well. If workers must fight to find the information they need it can slow the pace of business and inhibit profitability. This is especially true when using antiquated and paper-based systems where activities are wasteful and should be automated.
One cause of friction is the fact that many key processes continue to rely on paper and manual workflow. According to the latest AIIM research, only 49% of our respondents think they will have eradicated paper invoices by 2025. And previous research stated that over 30% report that most of their important business content is still referenced and filed using paper. This is especially challenging in info-intense activities like contract management, accounts payable, or new client onboarding.
Most companies spend a lot of time thinking about customer service. Very few companies spend time removing customer friction. But even companies with excellent customer service can be susceptible to losing both existing and potential customers to friction. Reducing or eliminating friction from your business can have dramatic effects including a higher lead-to-customer conversion rate, increased retention, and renewal rates, and enhanced productivity in the workplace.
Amazon is one good example of a frictionless customer experience. From the early days of one-click ordering to now, Amazon has become very good at figuring out what the customer wants and how quickly they want it delivered. Amazon Prime – a huge and ongoing investment in frictionless two-day and even same-day delivery – changed the game of ecommerce.
More recently Starbucks took the friction out of getting your morning cuppa joe with an app-based order and pick-up process; a near friction-free experience perfected. I’m still amazed when I walk into a Starbucks, pass the always-long line and grab my coffee and go. In short, old ways of working are often no longer acceptable as improved process agility, better business intelligence, and superior service become hallmark capabilities of digital transformation.
One common issue that creates friction is a lack of customer data or data silos. Having historical customer data readily available can vastly improve your customer experience. For example, let’s say your customer keeps having a problem with your product. They’ve called your customer service team twice, only to get a temporary solution that doesn’t seem to last. Now, they’re calling for the third time and are expecting you to fix this once and for all, but if you haven’t recorded their prior interactions, your reps will have no idea that this customer has had this problem before. Rerunning the same troubleshooting steps you tried the last two times will only frustrate the customer, and prove you’re incapable of fulfilling their need.
New technology and better data only go so far. To provide a truly superior customer experience requires a human touch. Give customers a great experience, and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends. That’s what every company strives for. Yet so many consumers seem disappointed. There is an experience disconnect: companies adopt the latest technology but haven’t focused on – or invested in – the most meaningful aspects of customer experience, the people.
What truly makes for a good experience? Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Friendliness. And a human touch – creating real connections by making technology feel more human and giving employees what they need to create better customer experiences.
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