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Each of us plays the role of customer multiple times each day as we interact with various businesses. In general, we don't think much of each encounter beyond what is required directly by the transaction. It's when one of these interactions takes extra time or causes tension that friction is created. And it is that friction that we so often equate with a negative experience with a business. In order to create exceptional customer experience (CX), it is critical that interactions are as frictionless as possible. By investing in seamless interactions, brands can invest in providing the best experience possible for their customers.

What Is a Frictionless Customer Experience?

People remember the bad much more than they do the good, which is why it is so critical to build a baseline of flawless service into your customer experience strategy. It is important for businesses to review the touch-points they have at each stage of their customer journey to identify where friction could occur and potentially disrupt the process. While no one area may stand out, friction over time with unnecessary steps or inefficient processes negatively impacts your bottom line, and that doesn't just cost money in lost sales. This disruption can impact the perception of your brand too, but customers who have experienced negative interactions are much more likely to talk about it.

Friction comes into play anytime the customer's experience is adversely affected. The interruption in an experience can come from anything, be it long wait times, inconsistent service, or poorly handled customer service. Friction isn't relegated solely to the service sector; it also exists in marketing and sales, where poor handling of technology can cause delays in processing orders and lead to client frustration.

Within the customer journey, friction can be broken down into different main causes:

  • Time: The amount of time that a customer has to spend dealing with an issue or just completing a transaction.
  • Efficiency: How well organized is your team at responding to customers? Do you provide consistency from experience to experience? There is nothing worse than calling three different times and being given a different contradictory response each time.
  • Data and Personalization: Being able to recognize customers and their needs goes a long way towards reducing friction.
  • Prevention: The best way to avoid friction is to stop it before it starts. Anticipating customer needs is one way to do this. But so is having a robust response to when problems inevitably do occur.

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Why "Frictionless" Is a Growing Staple in the Industry

More than ever before, frictionless CX has come to be expected. We are a culture that has become accustomed to a level of ease that is constantly increasing. This is further encouraged by industry disrupters like Uber and Amazon, constantly offering new heights of convenience. Now, in a Covid-19 world, offering frictionless CX is more important than ever, and requires quick adaptability from brands and businesses.

What Have We Learned About Offering CX without Friction During Covid-19

  • The Importance of Contactless and Self-Service Options: Empowering the customer to be able to take control had already been a major theme in getting ahead and offering the most advanced CX. Now, contactless and self-service options are more important than ever as they can offer specific health benefits. These options also allow businesses to adapt to new rules and expectations with greater flexibility. While these trends were already building before COVID-19, and we can expect them to remain even once the pandemic is a thing of the past.
  • The Use of Digital Reception Tools and the Rise of Telehealth: The move to telehealth has been drastic over the past year, and we can expect telehealth to remain an important part of medicine into the future. While some patients will undoubtedly return to in-person treatment, digital care will remain a constant fixture within the healthcare industry after COVID-19. Patients now expect the convenience of being able to schedule appointments online and visit their doctor without leaving the house, and those expectations are here to stay.
  • The Need for a Personalized CX: CX will continue to be the central factor in maintaining customer loyalty, and in a competitive world, that means providing the most frictionless experience possible. By using data-driven insights and offering personalized interactions, brands can not only provide their customers with what they want and need without any friction, but can also build long term customer loyalty.

A Demand for Exceptional CX Is Paving the Way for a Frictionless Future

There are numerous ways in which modern organizations are providing exceptional customer experience by integrating technology and innovative solutions into how they interact and engage with customers. Reducing the time and increasing the quality of interactions is the best way to achieve frictionless CX, and thus build a loyal customer base. The future-proof solution to achieving exceptional CX is through the integration of technology to best serve the customer, while also achieving new levels of personalization via the deep analytics and insights that data can provide.

A Few Examples Exceptional CX

  • Offering an Omnichannel Experience: Studies show that companies are twice as likely to be high performers if they offer an omnichannel communication solution. This makes it worthwhile to invest in a combination of support that uses telephone, chat, bots and self-service. With the new and advanced technology now available, omnichannel experiences are even possible for smaller teams and businesses.
  • Use Automation to Reduce Time: Remember that the greatest cause of friction in any customer journey is always going to be time spent in interactions. Using automation to concentrate on reducing the duration of customer encounters is key. Combining this with personalization can help further.
  • Empower Your Team With Processes and Tools: Empowering your team with tools and processes will enable them to help customers faster with less steps. Leveraging analytics and using data is the best way to achieve personalization, which is one of the best ways to reduce friction and achieve loyal customers during required engagements with your staff.

By focusing on the goal of achieving a seamless customer journey, you can reduce friction at each touchpoint and make a dramatic difference in the customer experience you provide. This means providing customers with more dynamic ways to get the information they need and empowering them to find solutions to their problems more easily. Technology provides the added benefit of truly personalizing experiences, tailoring each engagement to the specific needs of the customer and building a loyal customer base.

Your customer experience should be frictionless, consistent, and personalized to meet the evolving needs of your customers. At Avtex, we provide the insights and expertise to build a strong customer experience at scale. Schedule a call with our customer experience experts today!

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