How to Remove Friction From Your Customer Experience

Have You Thought About What Causes Friction?


I’ve focused on ways to be more convenient for your customers. I’ve shared my Convenience Principles and numerous examples and case studies. The goal is to eliminate friction. What I haven’t done is talked to you about what causes friction.

Here’s a question I often ask myself after I’ve dealt with a business.  What is it that I don’t like about the company I just did business with?   A great example is a company I deal with that makes me go through their entire advertising pitch before anyone picks up the phone.  I’ve got it memorized, because it’s so damn annoying.  It’s beyond frustrating that I am forced to listen to that recording every time I call.  That’s friction.


Let’s take a look at some of the ways that companies and their employees create friction.  I call these these “convenience infractions” because they may drive away your customers.

  1. Odious policies:  It’s maddening when someone wastes our time, and then blames it on a company policy or just says that, “It’s our policy.”
  2. Repetitive paperwork: I’m always amazed at the amount of unnecessary paperwork that is required. 
  3. Tedious technology: Hard-to-navigate websites drive away customers.
  4. Broken anything: If something is broken, it needs to be fixed ASAP.  Small problems festering into gaping wounds is friction to your business.
  5. Don’t keep customers waiting:  If it’s unavoidable, address it and let customers know when they will be helped.
  6. Provide Accurate information:  Your customer should never receive conflicting information.  Creating confusion creates unnecessary friction.
  7. Poorly trained employees:  Employees that demonstrate a lack of knowledge or competency frustrates customers.  Frustration is friction.
  8. Keep customer interactions human:  Not being able to talk to a person is frustrating.  Technology limitations create customer friction.
  9. A bad customer experience design:  CX design is a hot topic.  This is designing the total end-to-end experience the customer has with your company.  This is the person in charge of eliminating friction!
  10. Anything that wastes a customer’s time:  This is more than putting a customer on a long hold. When it comes to business, the opposite of friction is increasing customer convenience. Much of convenience is not just being easy, but also saving the customer time. Anything that doesn’t save the customer time, or wastes their valuable time, is friction.


This isn’t meant to be a rant.  It’s just a list of some ways that companies frustrate their customers and cause friction.  It’s a partial list.  There are other ways companies cause friction for their customers and even their employees.

Now it’s time to ask yourself the tough question.  Am I guilty of any of these convenience infractions?


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