Friction is everywhere in life, and it impacts us from the time we wake up until we go to sleep. But how can friction be defined? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word “friction” has two definitions:
Sadly, examples of friction in customer service are all around us:
Perhaps explained another way – friction is what keeps the customer from getting what they want instantly.
All the steps that customers have to take to get completely satisfied (getting customer support, buying something online, etc.) can be thought of as friction.
For example, when a customer shops online there are a host of different friction factors at play:
Often, the objective of the customer is to acquire a service or product in the fastest way possible, so everything that gets in the way of that is friction. However, some friction can never be eliminated. All kind of businesses will have a bit (or a lot) of friction, and often, the most we can do is to reduce it or manage it to make for happier customers. Friction can be made to feel more fluid and comfortable.
Even though friction at first sight can seem detrimental, in many cases it can be transformed into something positive. The key point to note with friction is that it is sometimes necessary. A great example is the common wheel. If there was no friction between a wheel and the road, cars would simply not move. Now, while friction in customer service is not as critical, there are times when it’s necessary for a customer to wait. However it’s possible to look for ways to entertain them thinking about another thing to make their wait time go faster.
The following are just examples of how friction in the workplace can be managed:
The Experience of Chat
According to a survey by eConsultancy, live chat is the preferred service channel for customer service. This, in part, is because ideal CX is all about instant answers and a friendly human that replies without wasting the customer’s time. Unfortunately, while this statistic might make sense, the data in our Live Chat Benchmark report has shown that the customer satisfaction rate for chat has dropped by over 3% this year. It sounds incredibly simple, yet so many businesses have trouble with customers when it comes to live chat. What customers want is to solve their issues and keep on going with their day. Instead, they come across counterintuitive software, long wait times and below par customer service. Bad customer experiences lead to disappointment and a high churn rate.
When Dimensional Research conducted a survey on the long-term impact of excellent customer service, they found that 62% of B2B customers and 42% of B2C customers purchased a product after having a good customer experience. The scary fact is that the number of those that stopped buying after a bad experience are even higher, with 66% of B2B customer and 52% of B2C choosing to move to another vendor. Not only that, dissatisfied customers are more likely to tell others about their bad experience, creating a negative impact on the brand’s reputation.
Excellent customer experiences lead to a loyal client base and improved business prospects. As such it’s essential to make every effort to remove friction from the user experience. Here are some ideas to manage or reduce friction in customer service:
The best way to determine the causes of friction is actually through your customer interactions. If you’re ready to remove friction from your customer’s experience, you need to invest time in learning about them and paying attention to their actions. Eradicating friction completely might not be possible. However, it can be reduced dramatically by focusing on a couple of key attributes in your products and services.
It’s impossible to get a completely frictionless customer experience, but it can be managed to preserve the good experience for the customer and the company brand. Investing in good software, intuitive platforms, easy to navigate websites and training customer service representatives is the way to go when it comes to achieving success. Live chat has proven to be the preferred channel for support, and this will only increase as it’s one of the communication methods with the least amount of friction. Put the ideas above in action and tell us your insights in the comments below!