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Are You Giving Your Customers Friction or Function?

Former VP Of Amazon Preaches a Frictionless Experience

Are You Giving Your Customers Friction or Function?

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Customers hate friction. They want easy, no hassle, low/no effort experiences. In short, they want convenience. Our 2022 customer experience research findings confirm:

  • 70% of customers would pay more if they knew they would receive a convenient experience.
  • 75% would switch to a competitor if they found it more convenient to do business with.
  • 68% of customers say that a convenient customer experience alone will make them come back to a brand or company.

Examples of friction include long wait times, difficulty finding contact information on a website, too many steps to make a purchase online and more. Frictionless is almost not noticed—until it is. At some point, customers realize how easy it is to do business with a company, and they like it. In fact, they like it so much, as the findings show, they will pay more and keep coming back.

There have been several books that focus on creating a frictionless, convenient experience. The first was The Effortless Experience by Matt Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick Delisi, which focused on the customer support experience. Then along came my book The Convenience Revolution, which included the entire customer experience, not just customer support. This was followed by a few more excellent contributions to the subject, the most recent being The Frictionless Organization by Bill Price and David Jaffe.

Bill Price was Amazon’s first global vice-president of customer service. When Jeff Bezos interviewed Price for the job in 1999, he asked Price what his philosophy was for running customer service. Price responded, “The best service is no service,” which became the title of his first book. Price believes that the best customer experience is to have everything set up so well that they don’t need to contact customer support.

Of course, that would be perfection, and perfection is not reality. Amazon may have perfectly executed on its side, but once the package leaves the Amazon warehouse, UPS, USPS, FedEx and other delivery companies take over. If they lose a package, who will the customer call? Amazon, of course. Even if it wasn’t Amazon’s fault, they still received the call and, of course, took ownership of the problem.

Price knows that a frictionless experience often goes unnoticed by the customer until they realize why they like doing business with that company or brand. But it does get noticed by the company providing the experience. It shows up in the form of higher customer satisfaction scores such as NPS (Net Promoter Score). Repeat business and loyalty also go up.

In their book, Price and Jaffe share several reasons why every business should be frictionless:

  • Being Frictionless Reduces Cost – There is a cost to setting up a process that’s easy for customers (and employees), but the ROI far exceeds the investment. When a company is easy to do business with, it doesn’t get nearly as many customer support calls, which can be a huge drain on the customer service budget. There are fewer returns and refunds. Websites are more effective. And more.
  • Being Frictionless Drives Customer and Revenue Growth – Price’s experience with Amazon proves that a high customer satisfaction score translates into more business. Amazon has some of the highest ratings in the business world, and its growth proves this model works.
  • Being Frictionless Delivers a True Competitive Advantage – The stats at the beginning of this article prove that point. No/low friction and convenience can help bulletproof a company from the competition.
  • Being Frictionless Enables Business Survival – The past several years have tested the best business leaders. Survival during the pandemic, through supply-chain issues, and now a recession proves that the best companies can survive with the right strategies. A frictionless experience is more important than ever.

When I interviewed Price on Amazing Business Radio, he made the perfect closing comments for this article. “It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have. What matters is that customers just want things to be easy for them. And if you don’t make it really simple and easy for customers, someone else will.”

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Pixabay

Check out my latest research in his Achieving Customer Amazement Study, Sponsored by Amazon Web Services, Inc.

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