In parts one through three we looked at the role friction plays in customer decisions and what you can do to reduce customer friction to increase conversions and loyalty. Now it’s time to consider your employees.
At the heart of your customers’ experiences are your employees.
A June 2016 Forrester Consulting study found that high-performing customer-centric companies have 17% increased customer loyalty, 13% improved ROI and 11% increased revenue over their competition. But as we’ve already noted, exceeding expectations with customer service when an issue arises is not as good as simply meeting their needs in the first place.
So perhaps the best way to approach this is a one-two punch:
- Train your employees to provide customer-centric service.
- Give them the tools they need to avoid friction.
While you should always be looking for traits like patience, attentiveness and communication skills in your customer-facing employees, and providing training that helps them service your customers successfully is a must, perhaps there’s more you can do to reduce friction.
Reduce friction in your employees’ experience
In Part Two: How to Identify Customer Friction we talked about walking through your own user experience (UX) to find the friction points and identify customer pain points. When you have created that list, consider areas where better empowering or equipping your employees will make a difference.
Giving your employees the right tools to combat customer friction “on the ground” can make all the difference in your conversion funnel.
The ways this might be done vary business to business, industry to industry but it can be as simple as removing frustrating employee tasks or replacing outdated equipment.
Your solutions will be unique to your business, but here are two examples.
Issue: Check processing equipment in a bank branch malfunctions
Without it, customers will have to wait up to three days for checks to clear and for funds to show up in their accounts. This delay could cause frustration and stress in the bank’s customers who rely on fast timing to meet their financial needs. Bank employees will have to spend more time hand processing checks and explaining to dissatisfied customers what is going on. When this happens, it’s no employee’s favorite day at work.
Solution: The right partnership
Partner with a maintenance service that offers an advanced unit exchange plan. When equipment breaks down, employees at the branch level can reach out to the service provider and get a new unit the next day and continue with business.
Issue: Up-selling to clients in a luxury salon
Walking the line between selling a loyal salon customer additional products and services and maintaining a relaxed, high-end experience all while managing the moment-to-moment needs behind the reception desk is not something than can always be achieved. The busier the salon, the less opportunity to provide the exact right touch to each client interaction. At best, sales opportunities are lost, at worst, a loyal customer is left feeling slighted.
Solution: Digital signage
Sleek and modern digital signage allows cohesive, cost-effective and easy-to-manage content display in an individual location or across an entire franchise. Professional, pre-approved messaging shares product promotions, upcoming events, employee spotlights and any other appropriate content. Clients are informed and entertained allowing employees more space to focus on immediate tasks at hand.
Let's sum it up
Don’t forget about your employees when working to reduce customer friction. They are your front line. Using the brilliant words of Sir Richard Branson, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of the clients.”
We hope you have enjoyed this four-part journey. More importantly, we hope it has shed light on opportunities to reduce customer friction in your organization.