Mar 22, 2022

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How to identify and reduce customer friction points

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Nowadays, marketers are hyper-aware of the importance of the customer journey and creating an intuitive user experience. In most cases, however, there are still plenty of opportunities to streamline the process and reduce customer friction

Customer friction points are any obstacles that stand between the customer and what they want — think clunky checkout processes, complicated phone menus, or any steps that feel extra and unnecessary. A little bit of friction can be helpful sometimes, like the use of two-factor authentication for online banking, but too much can be a serious problem.

Reducing customer friction points means minimizing effort for your customers and, in the long run, maximizing revenue for you. As technology continues to advance and consumers’ expectations continue to climb, it’s more important than ever to know how to identify and reduce user friction.

Identifying customer friction points

Friction can occur at various points throughout the customer journey. Identifying where this user friction is happening is the first step toward correcting it.

Types of customer friction can include:

  • Discovery friction
  • Purchase friction
  • Post-purchase friction

If you’ve ever visited a website with pages that load slowly or a navigation that you can’t intuitively follow, then you’ve experienced discovery friction firsthand. Discovery friction can prevent potential customers from giving your product or service a chance, and they may leave your website before ever seeing a landing or product page.

As your customer comes closer to completing a purchase, the fewer hurdles, the better. Secure checkout processes are vital, but you want your payment process to be as fast and effortless as possible. If your checkout process is longer than a few steps, your customer may experience purchase friction and consider a competitor instead.

After you’ve successfully completed a sale, minimizing friction is still crucial throughout the onboarding process. If your customers find it challenging to customize your product, or they feel your support team is unresponsive, they’re less likely to renew their subscription or recommend your software to others. These are examples of post-purchase friction points that should be mitigated to boost customer retention

Finding your points of user friction

Now that we’ve covered general types of customer friction points and where in the customer journey they most often occur, it’s time to look at how to identify the pain points specific to your business. 

Using your website analytics should be a key part of your strategy to identify and reduce customer friction. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • How fast does your website load?
  • Are your customers taking action from your product pages?
  • Is your abandoned cart rate high?
  • What is your bounce rate?
  • How many support tickets are your customers sending in?

The answers to questions like these can help you figure out where your customers are dropping off and experiencing the most friction. If your bounce rate is high and your website takes a long time to load, for example, improving your website’s performance could make a difference in your conversion rate.

When customers are visiting product pages but not taking further action, the solution may be more visual than technical. Consider improving the visibility of your “Add to Cart” button or add more information to the product description.

Abandoned carts are another sign of user friction. When customers abandon items they’ve added to their virtual cart, this can indicate that they’re interested in your product but something is stopping them from ultimately completing their purchase. This could be due to a long checkout process or high prices.

How to reduce customer friction points

Reducing user friction should be a priority across the board because it helps increase sales, conversion rates, and customer retention. Let’s take a look at some strategies for reducing customer friction. 

Create an optimized website

Customers may be drawn to a well-placed advertisement, and if they click through to your website, it’s important that your site delivers a consistently enjoyable experience.

If your site isn’t optimized for conversions, you risk losing out on sale. If your customers have to sift through multiple pages before finding the product they’re looking for, or if they encounter error messages that interfere with their purchases, they may give up altogether.

When a user is in the middle of the purchase process, they don’t want to be interrupted. Try to avoid asking users to create an account during checkout or interrupting the purchase flow with ads or chat windows.

Don’t forget about mobile users, either. Not creating a version of your site that’s optimized for mobile devices can create a lot of customer friction, especially if your data shows that many potential customers visit your site from their smartphones or other devices. Make sure that your site displays well on phones and tablets as well as desktop computers.

Most importantly, ensure that your site is easy to navigate. If your customers can’t find their way around, they would be making purchases any time soon.

Offer an easy checkout process

A complicated checkout process is a common issue. If it takes too long for a customer to complete a purchase, they’re likely to abandon it.

If you can, reduce or eliminate the number of required fields in your checkout form. The more information you ask for, the more likely it is that some customers will abandon their order. The only information you should be asking for at this step of the customer journey is information that helps fulfill the order and improve customer service. 

Also, think about offering multiple payment options. By offering several ways a customer might complete their order — credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc. — you increase the likelihood that a customer can follow through with their payment and therefore boost your sales.

Provide helpful support information

It can be frustrating to run into a problem that requires support and find that a company is difficult to work with or seems not to care about their customers’ experiences.

While dealing with customer issues is always going to be a part of doing business, regardless of how great your product or service is, you can reduce customer friction points by helping your customers resolve their issues as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

Customer support is a key element of your overall customer engagement strategy. It directly impacts your bottom line since it can either build or break the relationships you have with your customers and the perception they have of your company. The more effectively you engage with your customers, the greater likelihood that they’ll stick around and become repeat buyers or recommend your services to someone else.

Publish clear and informative content

For most businesses, a key part of the sales funnel is education, or raising awareness about the sort of problems your product or service can solve. You can work to identify customers’ pain points and show them how you can help.

Sometimes, you’re selling something your customers didn’t even know they were looking for. They may read your blog posts and learn more about how your product or service is just the thing to help them meet their goals.

This is all the more likely if you make your online content clear and concise. Answer your readers’ question (or most likely questions) directly and offer valuable information. If your content is hard to read or doesn’t offer relevant information, you may lose a reader, and therefore a potential customer.

Look out for your customers even after the purchase

Some of the most brutal customer friction points can pop up after your customer has made their purchase and entered the onboarding process. You’ve set certain expectations for how your product or service can help them work toward their goals, but if they’re not seeing those promises come to fruition, your customers are more likely to churn.

Ensure that you have a thorough and streamlined onboarding process that’s designed to answer any of your customers’ questions as they arise. Include built-in guides on your product interface and make it clear where your customers can go for additional support from your team, if they need it. For a smooth onboarding process, your customers should feel supported the entire way.

Resolving customer friction points

Identifying your customers’ friction points will enable you to deliver the best possible experience and ultimately help you improve your product, increase conversions, and boost revenue.

To learn more about reducing customer friction points and using analytics to improve customer experience, take a look at our eBook: “The Modern Customer Success Playbook for Creating Data-Driven Customer Experiences.

Start developing your strategies to create exceptional customer experiences and turn casual buyers into loyal customers.

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