The main goal any business has is to maximize their sales and improve customer satisfaction which can be done by creating a smooth and easy journey that will lead their customers from intent to buy to actual purchase. But, sometimes, that doesn’t happen. Instead, sometimes your customers can experience some friction during their purchase journey that will influence them to change their minds, leave your business and turn to your competition.
For some customers, it would be going through too many different pages or clicks to actually land on what they are looking for.
For others, it can be a website offering a free trial but simultaneously asking them to provide their payment information.
It could even be reading “Call our sales team for price” instead of the website disclosing the price immediately.
More often than not, it will be the long registration or checkout process that causes user friction and cart abandonment.
Every company is susceptible to losing their customers, existing and potential ones, due to the friction in the customer journey. Luckily, if your customer journey is causing friction, there are some steps you can take to prevent it and grow a successful business.
Why Does Customer Friction Happen?
Before you can even start thinking about removing customer friction, you first need to understand what it is and identify it within your customer journey. Only then can you start working on preventing it.
What exactly is customer friction? Customer friction presents any element within the customer journey that influences customers to change their minds from buying the product or service to leaving your business completely. After spending so much time, money, and effort to attract customers and drive sales, a simple hurdle can be enough to send your customers running in the other direction. While customer friction is different from business to business, there are some common reasons that can be applied to a large number of companies:
- Issues with technology, such as websites not loading fast enough or even getting a 404 page not found error.
- Multiple steps before the checkout.
- Having to create an account to complete a purchase.
- Poor website quality.
- Products are not being described clearly enough.
- Unclear delivery information.
- Confusing return policy.
- Slow payment process.
- Negative online reviews.
- Slow or uninformed staff.
- Inventory directory is not clear enough.
Source: Baymard Institute
While these issues can cause customer friction and make customers decide products or services are not worth all the hassle, some are more likely to do so than others. According to the report from Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 70%, with the newest studies even showing an increase to 80%. The report showed that the most common reason for cart abandonment was because the customers were just browsing or weren’t ready to buy yet, but that still leaves the question about the reasoning for the rest of the surveyed US online shoppers. Among the rest of the shoppers, 24% decided to stop with the purchase process because the eCommerce site required them to create an account, and 17% of them abandoned the card because the checkout process was too long or complicated.
The same research shows that an ideal checkout process should only include 12-14 form elements, while on average, they contain almost 24 elements. No wonder customers get annoyed and decide to abandon the process. But, companies are not choosing to have the lengthy checkout process because they have nothing better to do. The truth is that they consider that the only way to gather enough information about customers so companies can ensure they are who they say they are and protect their business from fraud. Luckily, fraud prevention systems no longer have to be slow, causing user friction; digital onboarding tools such as the one from SEON provide real-time fraud prevention while ensuring a frictionless customer journey.
Can You Provide a Frictionless Customer Journey?
Customer friction isn’t always something we can fix quickly with changes in website design or expanding the product description. Sometimes it happens because we are not being proactive enough when it comes to keeping up with customer expectations. Customers expect instant service, from immediately finding products they want, purchasing them within seconds, and using next or even same-day delivery, as Dropoff mentioned. Companies that are not working on making this possible are quickly falling behind their competition. Creating a frictionless customer journey has never been more critical.
Implementing digital onboarding tools can make a significant difference when it comes to reducing user friction. It allows you to gather enough data about your users to determine if they are a legitimate party or a fraudster without them having to fill out the long checkout forms and possibly abandoning the cart. New technological advancements are constantly changing the way we live our lives; why not use technology to improve our business?
Ultimately, to make sure your customers have a frictionless experience, you should walk in their shoes. How will you know all the issues they can experience if you don’t know how your current process works? Go through every element of their journey, from the first interaction through the checkout process to post-purchase procedures. Try to identify how your customers would feel during the entire process and determine if there are any areas for improvement. Most importantly, follow through on improvements and continue being proactive so you can keep up with any changes that might happen.
No matter if you are selling products or services, ensuring customer satisfaction is essential for any business that wants to grow and stay competitive in an ever-growing market. Just remember, friction doesn’t only cause customers to abandon the cart and go to your competition – it can have other significant long-term consequences. They might decide never to interact with your business again and share their experience with other people, damaging your reputation and costing you other potential customers in the process. By creating a frictionless experience throughout your customers’ journey, not only can you improve their satisfaction but also increase conversions, build brand loyalty and improve customer retention. Don’t wait until you start losing more and more customers before you start reacting. At that point, it is already too late. Be proactive, remove friction from your business and ensure you provide every customer with a simple and effortless experience.