Just about every day, I am someone’s customer. I purchase a product or service, renew something that I am already using, or someone shares something awesome with me. Why I buy is an entirely different conversation, but this week I had two back-to-back less than desirable purchasing situations.
Which made me think about the various friction points I encountered during the process and how easily they could have been erased.
As a solopreneur, we are taught to think about what we will provide to our customers and create a way for them to get that outcome. What makes sense to us, our ideal sales cycle, can be riddled with questions or friction points for someone else.
As an employee, we exacerbate these friction points through communication, or rather, communication issues.
Friction points occur regardless of how you are doing work. Removing them will elevate your presence and result in “more” of what you are seeking.
Here’s what happened this week: I was excited to purchase an online workout, nutrition and community program. They go on sale only once a week and open to a select number of people. (Side note – they are doing a great job of creating a sense of scarcity and exclusiveness). I waited and waited until I finally had the opportunity to “buy.” After completing payment, that was it. I was left staring at my screen asking, “What’s next?”
I was so baffled by the lack of any type of information as to what to expect, that I reached out via their contact form. “Hey – it’s me! I’m excited, how do I start? Where do I log in? Did I miss something?”
That is a friction point – I am already doubting the product/service. I’m asking myself if I was just scammed; how could they possibly not have this information in place – they are killing it; where can I find the FAQ; and so on. I didn’t mention it to someone who could have turned in to their client as well because I was confused.
Another example is a client of mine who is an employee in a corporate environment. She was asked to consult on a specific project with a high level executive. The information they were given was, “He needs your expertise, so please talk to him a few times and get him on track. We greatly appreciate it.” Awesome – a bigger opportunity.
But when the client got on the phone, he didn’t have the relevant information on-hand. She wasn’t given access to the project itself – just a name and number. The client rambled on about solutions and ideas that were discussed with the previous point person leaving her in a tizzy of how to proceed.
She hit a friction point – a miscommunication between the needs of the client and the information she was given. Wasting a lot of time to get things on to the same page.
The crazy thing about friction points is that for you, it’s obvious information. You know inherently what comes next in your process. You will overlook these points because to you, they don’t exist. So you have to seek them out.
How to Find Friction Points?
1. If you have been asked the same question more than twice, it’s a friction point.
2. Regardless of whom your client is (internal boss or external web purchaser), have someone else who isn’t in your realm, review the process and give your feedback. They will tend to find things that make them pause, reread, or go back to. That is a friction point.
3. Do some research on your competitors. Internally, review other projects that have been submitted; externally, go through a competitor’s buy-cycle to see what questions you have. These are friction points.
4. Over-communicate the important parts. It may seem to you, like you are “dumbing down” information, but you are providing extra details to eliminate as many hidden friction points as possible.
5. For sales pages, take a break from the work. Come back with a fresh set of eyes and a mindset to break the flow.
6. Review what has and hasn’t worked in the past. For employees, look at your previous performance plans and see areas where the perception of your performance doesn’t match reality. For entrepreneurs, look at your website tracking data and talk to your customers. Where are people leaving, what was confusing, what can be improved?
The fewer friction points you have in your work life, the more effective you will be. People will understand exactly what they are getting when you are connected and communication will become an issue of the past.
(Now please excuse me as I am currently working on taking my own advice).