When you build credibility, trust and confidence with your customers, you build sales. Make great service central to your sales strategy.
Friction Can Kill the Customer Experience
by Shep Hyken
Friction has several meanings according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: the act of rubbing one thing against another; the force that causes a moving object to slow down when it is touching another object; and the disagreement or tension between people or groups of people. If you think about friction in relation to customer service, any of these definitions could lead to a bad experience.
What we want in a customer service experience is the opposite of friction – agreement, peace, harmony. I think we would all agree that the best customer experience is one that is without friction. In other words, it is easy. In business, especially customer service, the antithesis of an experience with friction is one that is easy.
Unfortunately, we deal with friction in business all too often, in situations that make customers unhappy – sometimes even angry. It happens when we are stuck in a long line at the grocery store or dealing with traffic in a crowded parking lot. Or when calling a company only to be put on hold, transferred, and made to repeat our complaint or problem to multiple people. Being on time for a doctor’s appointment yet forced to sit in the waiting room for a long time. Waiting for a package to arrive on a designated day but never receiving it. Taking a day off work for a repairman who never shows up. You get the idea – it’s something that makes doing business with someone anything less than easy.
Some businesses excel at making the customer’s life easy. Think about PayPal, or Amazon’s one-click purchasing. It makes life easier when my automobile dealership picks my car up for service other than making me drive it in. Uber, the transportation company that’s giving the traditional taxi industry a run for its money, is “uber-easy.” Once you have an account with Uber you don’t even have to take money out of your pocket to pay the driver – not even a tip. And don’t forget Apple – its iPhone 6 includes Apple Pay, which effectively turns your mobile phone into a credit card. Banks that offer extended hours as a convenience for customers who work during the day are essentially making their customers’ lives easier. There are many ways to make business easier and reduce the friction.
So, think about the definitions of friction and figure out how it may be affecting your business. In other words, is there some part of your process that the customer comes up against that slows down progress? Or a common complaint or disagreement that highlights a recurring issue? Find and fix these points of friction to give the customer an experience that is easy and friction-free!
Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business go to: http://www.hyken.com
Copyright © MMXVI Shep Hyken – Used with permission.
Frippicism: “Take the initiative; creatively remove obstacles; save the customer.”
Shep Hyken and Patricia Fripp joined forces for a the web event, How Customer Service Drives Sales. When they are well-trained your customer service professionals are the voice of the customer and perceived as experts. Enjoy this video replay:
How Customer Service Drives Sales
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