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Spotting CX friction before your customers do

Have you ever been overwhelmed by too many options on a restaurant menu? I know I have. It may not have any bearing on the quality of the food or service, but it temporarily leaves the customer confused, overwhelmed, and frustrated. That experience is what I call CX Friction.

Another real-world example is a door that you push, but you should pull to open. We’ve all done it, and for a moment, we feel like idiots with a dash of frustration mixed in.

As it pertains to digital experiences, it may be a slow loading website, too many fields in a checkout process, confusing navigation, annoying popups, or a busy and cluttered UI design.

So now that we know what CX Friction is, how do we spot it? To start, you’ll want to look at the whole journey from beginning to end — from the 50,000ft level and then from the 10ft level. Understand the big picture and the small, nuanced touchpoints that make your experience yours. The more you can uncover, the more you can empathize.

You’ll want to bring a beginner’s mindset. Forget what you already know and see it through the eyes of a new customer. I admit, that can be tough, which is why companies higher specialists like myself to bring a fresh, unbiased, and outside perspective.

“Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer. It’s the promise we keep to the customer. It’s how we follow through for the customer. It’s how we make them feel when they do business with us.”

There are also tools like HotJar, FullStory, and Google Analytics that help paint part of the picture through data and behavior analytics. There are customer surveys & interviews which provide first-hand feedback. I also recommend talking with your customer support team as they are often the frontlines of customer complaints and questions.

Take all you’ve learned and document areas (sticky notes are helpful here) that might be confusing, frustrating, buggy, or need more polish. Put the sticky notes on a wall and prioritize them by the most painful experience, but that will deliver the most value if fixed. If that’s too difficult, try prioritizing them by most frustrating and easiest to solve — this will help your team get some quick wins early on.

Wrapping up, I hope these approaches and steps should provide a solid foundation for how to identify and solve CX friction. And ultimately, I hope this helps you create an experience that drives business success and that customers love instead of loathe.