Reducing Friction is Critical to Customer Experience Success
Reducing friction in the customer service journey plays a critical role in achieving the level of CX today’s consumers demand. According to Shep Hyken and Forbes, 96% of customers will stop doing business with a company because of bad customer service. Reducing friction and delivering excellent customer service experiences should be more important than ever for today’s businesses leaders — research from PwC shows about one in three (32%) customers “say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.”
Friction in customer service can be defined as any step in the customer experience that impedes or slows down the customer achieving a successful resolution. Market research has shown that two of the most important ways businesses can work to reduce friction are by delivering fast and convenient customer service through increasingly digital channels.
By reducing friction, businesses can improve KPIs like time to resolution and customer effort. Improving these metrics reduces customer churn and improves customer loyalty. Some common examples of customer service friction include:
- Cumbersome IVR menus that take a few minutes to walk through service options callers don’t want to engage with
- Limited IVR automation that can’t fully resolve the issue customers are calling about (made worse if there is no option to leave the IVR tree and speak with an agent)
- Overly crowded websites that are hard to navigate and find customer service solutions
- Forcing callers to repeat information they’ve already entered into self-service tools or told previous CSRs if the interaction is escalated to a live agent interaction
- A lack of personalization in self-service processes
- Imposing cumbersome authentication processes when they’re not needed
“By reducing friction and delivering fast and convenient customer service today’s businesses can reduce customer churn and improve customer loyalty.”
Faster Service Keeps Customers Loyal
Reducing friction in the customer service journey will speed up interactions, reducing AHT, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing customer churn. Consumers expect faster and faster experiences, especially for digital interactions. With more customers than ever connecting to customer service digitally after COVID-19, the acceptable timeline for resolutions has shrunk. What used to be considered minor friction points can have a larger impact on customer satisfaction today.
According to McKinsey, 75% of online customers expect service within five minutes of connecting. The faster a business can deliver customer service resolutions, the better. Any slower than five minutes for straightforward digital interactions and today’s businesses risk seeing customers leave for competitors. PwC found nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed is one of the most important elements of a positive customer experience.
The Right Channels Make A Big Difference
One of the newest aspects of customer service prone to causing increased amounts of friction is the availability of customer service solutions on multiple channels. The fastest, most successful customer service experience isn’t helpful if customers can’t use it. Businesses today must meet their customers where they are. Customers want businesses to react to their needs, not force them into resolving issues through one specific channel.
Customers are looking to connect through more channels than ever, and they will reward businesses prepared for omnichannel customer service with increased loyalty (and reduced customer churn). According to NewVoiceMedia, 31% of customers ranked “being able to contact a business through any channel” as the top driver of emotional connection to businesses. The most important channel right now seems to be smartphones. According to Genesys, 78% of customers (and an incredible 90% of millennials) used smartphones for customer service/support interactions.
It’s not enough to simply make customer service available, however. True convenience means customers need to resolve their issues the first time they connect to businesses, no matter which channel they choose. According to Genesys, customers report first contact resolution as the most valuable aspect of a customer service interaction. By adding advanced omnichannel customer service solutions, businesses can make sure customers can find a successful resolution to their customer service inquiries no matter which channel they choose to use first.
Increase Customer Satisfaction with Better Customer Service
Consumer expectations for customer service are constantly rising. As a society we continually expect faster, easier to access services from every aspect of the customer journey. Businesses like Amazon and Uber, and the proliferation of on-demand services have decimated friction in their user journeys and as a result, driven higher expectations at every step of the customer journey for the rest of us.
Today’s consumers demand fast, easy to access, successful customer service. Businesses looking to compete in the modern marketplace and avoid customer churn need to be aware of what is creating friction for their customers. Solutions and experiences that slow down customer service interactions must be corrected. With customers expecting experiences even faster than 5 minutes, every second counts. Today, more than ever, customer service needs to be available on multiple platforms, most importantly smartphones. These digital channels are the go-to avenues for modern customers, and luckily for businesses, often include automated self-service solutions that can help deliver fast resolutions as well.