One of the items rising up the customer experience agenda at the moment is the objective of creating a frictionless experience.
Now, I’m a fan of removing the ‘grit’ from the customer’s experience. You know…the little things that makes things hard or uncomfortable.
But, to completely remove all the ‘friction’ from the customer experience?
Is that wise?
Consider a few examples:
These examples are fascinating and I am sure there are others.
Moreover, they might be friction free but where is the lasting and meaningful experience?
Let’s re-consider Huge’s coffee shop concept. Yes, at first, it will be novel. But, then will it become routine? Will it then be in danger of becoming forgettable and subject to competition from someone or something that will offer to do it faster or better or cheaper. And, once the baristas are replaced by robots, like in the case of Cafe X, will it not become no more than a 21st century vending machine?
So, if we eliminate all of the ‘friction’ do we not eliminate the opportunity to create a meaningful and lasting experience?
After all, what is experience if not the opportunity to create a series of memories? As Morris Pentel, the Chairman & Founder of the Customer Experience Foundation, says: “Experience ends in memory”.
If frictionless customer experience is to be the new norm will that not put us inexorably on the path to convenience and price competition?
Now, that may be OK for someone with the deep pockets of Amazon. But, for others?
Surely, the point of investing in, developing and improving customer experience is to differentiate ourselves and stave off price competition.