Friction is the enemy of customer experience. It comes in the form of outdated payment technologies, poorly designed websites, and irritating return processes. It can have a dramatic impact on an organization’s brand and bottom line:
- 67 percent of consumers cite bad experiences as reason for churn
- 51 percent of B2B companies avoid vendors after a negative customer experience
- 95 percent of people will share their complaints with others
- It is 6 to 7x more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing customers
According to recent research, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiation. Companies simply can’t afford the cost of friction.
So how can companies remove friction?
Design thinking is a good place to start.
This methodology is about creating innovative solutions based on the real needs of people. At DVmobile, we lead with empathic UX design, putting the end user experience and all stakeholders first. We’ve found that this approach brings to life technical and project-specific objectives – making them immediate and relatable. By prioritizing the end user and understanding their needs, companies can more effectively evaluate their processes through the eyes of their customers and identify areas of friction.
Executing on design thinking principles to reduce friction requires a commitment to continuous and iterative improvement. Because technology changes so rapidly, companies must be agile in both solutions and processes. In our business, we’ve learned the impact of adapting as new learning, additional feature requests, and usability information comes to light. By continually incorporating new feedback, companies can reduce customer pain points – improving their business and their customers’ quality of life.
How does this work in the real world? Here’s just one example from a company we’re probably all familiar with:
In February 2007, Netflix delivered its billionth DVD. But, instead of doubling down on its successful DVD rental and sales business, Netflix announced that it would begin streaming media.
What Netflix did so expertly was to remove the friction inherent in its core business. Subscribers no longer had to wait for their DVD to arrive in the mail or remember to mail the DVD back by a particular day. They no longer had to pick another option when Netflix was out of the movie they wanted. And they didn’t have to experience the frustration of waiting for their movie to arrive, only to find the DVD broken or scratched.
By removing friction, Netflix has transformed the way the world accesses and consumes media. After many iterations, the company also transformed the behavior of it subscribers by offering on-demand access to media (aka: binge-watching) and developing original content. Want to know something else Netflix transformed by removing friction? Its bottom line. According to a MarketWatch article from May of this year, Netflix has a market capitalization approaching $68 billion, nearly 22,000% more than its $309 million valuation at IPO time [15 years ago].
Tell us about the experience your customers have with your products, services, and processes. How have you identified and removed friction in your business? We’d love to hear from you!
UI/UX Designer at DVmobile, Men-at-Work fan, and 3D printing guru.