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Customer friction kills sales


When I attempt a transaction with an enterprise, I always expect a seamless transaction that is simple, fast without any blocks or problems. If I experience any discomfort in the transactional process I would have a negative experience with the enterprise. Any discomfort that acts as a roadblock for a customer is a customer friction point. Customer friction has a direct negative impact on the brand.

How does customer friction affect sales?

Take the case of a super market. You enter the supermarket to buy a shampoo bottle. After picking up the shampoo bottle from the rack and proceeding to bill it, if you encounter a long queue at the billing counter you would look at the adjacent counter to see possibilities of billing it there. If you do not find a staff manning that counter, you would feel irritated. This is a classic case of customer friction. 95% of dissatisfied customers tell others about their bad experience [Source: Zendesk] I always tell my wife not to go to a particular retail store because of unmanned payment counters. Even though, the retail store has all the latest products that I need, I still do not prefer shopping there because of the bad experiences I have encountered at the payment counter.

Consider the classic example of a customer support service. Your printer stops working. So you make a call to the customer care centre and you end up pressing different numbers through the IVR service; finally a customer care executive picks up your call and after listening to your whole story he comes with the response “Sir, please dial 2 from your phone for this service”. You end up narrating the whole experience to another executive who finally gives you the solution. The process is long and by the time you get an answer, you are way too irritated. You will definitely feel that the customer care executive does not value your time. 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service [ Source: Forrester]

Customers would always prefer to save time during the purchase process. If you want to boost your sales, you have to provide superlative customer experience and that is possible if you eliminate all the customer friction points that affect the customer.

These are some ways to eliminate customer friction

  • The support personnel should be qualified to handle queries and provide solutions at a faster pace
  • If you rely on online transactions, the website should be user friendly with quality content and should have faster response time
  • Having a good product is imperative to eliminate customer friction. Even if you have a top notch customer service team, if your product is not good, the general perception about your product goes down as you can’t eliminate customer friction with a bad product
  • Building great relationships with customers eliminate customer friction. This can be done only by understanding the customers’ pain points and providing a frictionless experience

Is your brand/product/business ready for a providing a friction less experience to your customer? Please share some of your customer friction experiences and how you eliminated them.


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