i3 | April 05, 2021

Master the Art of Customer Experience

Scott Steinberg

From rollable cell phones to voice-controlled refrigerators and augmented reality (AR)-powered vehicle displays, CES 2021 was a hotbed of innovation. But whether you’re talking about wine-pouring robots or automated self-guiding drones, the underlying theme at this year’s show was a growing push to make technology more accessible and intuitive. It makes sense, with firms like PwC now declaring that customer experience (CX) is everything.

In effect, with shoppers more well-informed, it’s more important than ever to quickly make a good impression. It’s also essential to make offerings both simpler to use and more intuitive to comprehend.

How to Increase Profits

Fortunately, companies can boost their profile, and sales, by finding ways to reduce customer friction — defined as any source of hesitation that may prompt audiences to take pause. A second’s hesitation can lead to loss of interest, and a potential lost sale. It’s also important to do more than simply consider the concept from the standpoint of sales leads and online marketing conversions.

customer service rating
Source: Tero Vesalainen/Alamy

It’s crucial to think about the idea of friction in terms of your solutions’ overall usability, and the ease with which someone can interact with your products, services and company. The more that you can provide a frictionless experience for clients — in the form of a simpler product interface or simpler process for engaging with your organization — the more successful you will be. A few common sources of friction:

  • Product or software incompatibilities,
  • Challenging assembly and setup,
  • Complex interfaces,
  • Confusing instructions,
  • Unnecessarily hidden features,
  • Frequent updates or patches,
  • Long wait times when accessing apps,
  • Complicated policies and procedures.

Many companies live or die on their ability to overcome friction, such as app developers, whose success ultimately comes down to whether they can convince others to install their software. Noting this, applying design thinking (human-centered design) cannot be underscored enough. Lower the amount of friction with your products, services, and solutions, and you:

  • Boost market awareness and enthusiasm,
  • Increase purchase leads and conversions,
  • Make offerings more accessible,
  • Sell more products, accessories and add-ons,
  • Improve customer loyalty and retention,
  • Drive positive word-of-mouth and audience uptake.

Redesigning your solutions to minimize friction and maximize their commercial performance doesn’t have to be difficult. Asking a few simple questions as you craft any given solution can quickly help you get ahead, such as:

  • Can you do in one step what is currently taking several?
  • Can information be better presented using a chart, graph or video?
  • What shortcuts can help minimize time spent engaging in frequent activities?
  • Where could simple shifts in layout, design, controls or presentation provide gains in usability?
  • How can products be made more accessible to users of various skill levels?
  • Are answers to frequent questions just a tap away?

Make your Offerings User-Friendly

Doing so can be as easy as reducing required action steps or repackaging solutions to be more engaging. And from redesigning interfaces to put one-touch commands at users’ fingertips to reworking marketing campaigns to emphasize just a few unique sales points, reducing friction can help your company at every turn.

Put simply: By being clearer in your instructions, removing unnecessary challenges from interactions, and more clearly communicating your company’s upsides, you can greatly improve customer uptake and conversion. The more that you reduce friction, the more you’ll improve user interactions and your company will benefit as a result.

i3 magazine March/April 2021 cover

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