Friction?!? No, this is not a post about mechanics or physics or racing tires. It’s not about how surprised you’ll be when your car engine seizes up because you forgot to check the oil for a whole year.
It’s about friction in doing business. Friction is a great metaphor for the psychological resistance that customers have to all the stuff that companies put in their way before they can purchase and before they can use the product or service. It is anything that slows down or stops a potential buyer’s progression through the purchasing process. Friction is being discussed more and more as business leaders seek to eliminate the “speed bumps” in their sales and post-sales processes and make it easier for customers to do business with them.
Here are some examples of friction: The Web form you have to fill in that asks you for too much information, or the resulting email response you have to wait for, which then sends you back to the website you were visiting in the first place before you can finally purchase and start using a product or service. Another example of annoying stuff that creates friction is Capchas. Capchas are ridiculously unnecessary and often very hard to use and have what I call, borrowing a term from physics — a high coefficient of friction.
Here’s a great example of low-friction buying. Go to the Apple store and, using the free Apple Store iPhone app with EasyPay, just take any item you’re interested in off the rack, scan it with your iPhone to get information and ratings about it. You can even choose to pay for it using your iTunes account. Then, just leave the store! You don’t even have to go the register, take out your credit card or talk to store employee! How about that for eliminating friction!
Reducing friction in your insurance agency is yet another dimension to increasing customer delight, successful cross-selling and policy rounding out, and to increasing retention.
At QQ, we took some steps last year to reduce friction for our customers. We eliminated the contract as well as setup fees for our QQ Evolution agency management system and QQ WebRater comparative rater. Recently, we implemented a process in which our Product Support Team helps new QQ Evolution customers download and install the software. This is a big “lubricant” to overcome the friction in our post-sales process and make it easy for our customers to come on board with QQ.
So, take an objective view of how your agency does business. Where is the friction in your sales process? Can customers get a quote easily? How easy is it for them to purchase a policy?
Think about any other things that you do that may be impeding the buying process for your customers.
If you work to reduce the friction, you’ll differentiate your agency, improve the buying experience for your customers and keep ‘em coming back!