When you remove friction from a process or system, you give the people in that system back one of the things that is utterly non-renewable, time.” – Christiane Lemieux
We’re faced with millions of decisions and tasks every day. And the difficult ones are the ones where we feel the most friction. But, imagine what it would be like to have a frictionless life.
If we can get rid of (or significantly reduce the friction) we can reduce stress, smooth the path of progress, conserve energy, improve relationships, oh, and most importantly, as mentioned above, save time.
So today we’re going to take a look at friction and why it’s important to reduce it both for ourselves and our business.
When we get caught in friction we get taken out of flow.
We get stopped in our tracks, distracted, frustrated and just slightly defeated.
It’s very easy to accept friction as part of life. Whether it’s the friction of the dripping tap, which just nags away as another thing to get done, or the completely inability to work out how to return something you purchased but don’t want.
How about we start the journey to a frictionless life, one irritating little thing at a time?
Removing friction for yourself is important, but equally take a good look at your business and see where you might be causing friction for others. For as market research shows
“Historically the best product usually won in the end, but now the best experience generally comes out on top.” – Secret Source Marketing
It’s easy to spot where we feel friction
So give some thought right now as to what bugs you. Here are some of my bugs.
- Returning goods. No easy return labels, no clear instructions, no postage paid! All friction.
- Changing phone contracts. Really easy to upgrade, really difficult to downgrade.
- Self addressed envelopes that don’t have the postage paid. Almost frictionless, and then suddenly not when you have to rummage around looking for stamps.
When it comes to identifying the frictionless experience it can sometimes be more difficult, simply because life feels so seamless. Recently I noticed these.
- Renewing my car tax online – unbelievably easy – despite being a government site 😉
- Returning goods (the opposite of the above) – labels, packaging all sorted – just loved it.
- Pocket – the app that allows you to snip articles and websites to create your own reading list. This has made my online research totally frictionless
And what about the friction I cause?!
- Looking at my online platform I don’t make it as easy to connect with me as I could. Do my links take people to the most useful place, not just the landing page where they then have to hunt around for what they want?
- Until recently I asked coaching clients to call me. There are some good reasons for that, but it causes them friction, so why don’t I call them. That’s what happens now.
- The learning I create. I love learning myself and learning takes energy, which can create super-sensitivity to friction. I realised I haven’t given enough examples and illustrations to help make the learning really easy, and – these days – bite-sized, self-paced learning really helps people to complete courses. This is all being folded into my design now.
Remember, we’re so used to the “one-click” lifestyle that anything that isn’t easy seems really difficult.
So what do you do?
Here are some thoughts on approach.
Spend the next 24 hours looking out for moments of friction you experience in life, noticing your own day-to-day frictions.
What gets in the way of you taking action? Getting your finances straight? Not having sports kit just waiting for you to put it on?
Are you holding an assumption or belief that something is going to be difficult? So you’re putting off doing it. Maybe take a peek and find out it’s not so bad after all. Or maybe it is, but once done the world opens up for you.
When it comes to your customers, put yourself in their shoes
Go through every single contact point that you have with them.
- How easy is it to get to know you?
- Is the way you connect seamless?
- Is doing business with you a delight and pleasure?
A quick tip – be careful to not involve customers in the behind-the-scenes processes – think of these processes like your underwear – strangers really don’t need to see it!
As you start to experience life without friction, you’ll be spurred on to seek it out further friction and eliminate it for you and those you work with.
And as solopreneurs we have a huge advantage
We can learn quickly and adapt fast. We’re not huge, slow moving companies who have to change policies and processes and engage hundreds of employees to make things happen.
We can be nimble, turn on a sixpence adjust and transform. We can create a frictionless life for ourselves and those we serve. We can give the gift of time.
- The future of commerce belongs to the frictionless – article
- Want to create a frictionless business – article
- Pocket – app
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