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Identifying Customer Friction Points: A Key to Reducing Churn

Do you want to improve sales and customer retention? Of course you do! 

There are many different ways to reach this goal — from improving your marketing to using new strategies such as a targeted customer loyalty program — but a fairly simple way to boost your bottom line is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to subscribe to your product. 

This is especially important in the world of SaaS, where the sector’s competitive nature means that any little disruption in the buying process can easily lead to cart abandonment and the customer choosing to go to your competitors.

That’s why you should try to understand and address customer friction points — the points in the customer journey where the potential customer experiences difficulties or unnecessary obstacles. Reducing customer friction will make it easier for customers to experience value with your product and reach the holy grail of your tool — the aha moment, making it a great way to boost your revenue. 

Luckily for you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to identifying and rectifying customer friction to reduce churn. Keep reading to learn more about customer friction points, why they’re so important, and how you can remove them from your customer journeys. 

What are customer friction points?

We all know that one key to minimizing customer churn is having a high customer satisfaction score and ensuring that your customers’ needs and priorities are being met at all times. While other aspects of customer service are also important when it comes to customer experience, pain points are an easily rectifiable element. 

They’re anything that gets in the way of your customer journey — any feature that slows down or frustrates the customer, unnecessary signup or onboarding steps, unclear instructions and information on how to use your tool, UI/UX setbacks, or bugs. 

Sometimes, these directly impact your turnover, such as a billing system that fails to complete some transactions (thus causing the user to abandon the subscription process). Alternatively, they can reduce customer retention because they are integral to the product, such as a bug that prevents a function from operating effectively.

The nature of SaaS means that customer friction points can have a critical effect on business success. Many parts of the SaaS customer journey can go wrong, and any complex software includes lots of potential pain points. 

Different types of customer friction points

As we’ve already highlighted, there are lots of potential friction points that can disrupt the customer journey in your B2B SaaS business. That’s why it’s important to consider the different types of customer friction. You’ll be able to manage your workload better if you can divide pain points into their different types. 

Discovery frictionDiscovery friction is any disruption that prevents customers from seeing your product in detail or reaching a key landing page. Common discovery friction points are operational website failures, such as slow loading times. These not only inhibit potential customers from exploring your product but also hamper your ability to generate leads effectively.
Usage frictionSetbacks in your onboarding and app adoption process can cause an early-stage churn within your customers. This also includes any friction during the signup process.
Purchase frictionThis is when a customer experiences friction while trying to complete a purchase. Long checkout processes are an instant turn-off for many customers, and you’ll also want to ensure that shipping or download options are simple and clear. 
Post-purchase frictionCustomers don’t stop experiencing friction once they’ve made a purchase. In SaaS, it’s crucial that your onboarding process is clear and effective and that your software works effectively. This will make renewals and recommendations more likely.

Tracking the whole customer journey and your sales funnel numbers, such as webpage visits, signups, feature usage, weekly retention after signup, etc., is a good heuristic to consider where to start reducing friction.

Why is it so important to reduce friction points?

Once you know where to look in order to identify customer friction points, you’ll be able to start removing them from the customer journey. But why should you bother going through this whole process? Here are the main benefits that you’ll see once you’ve reduced your friction points: 

1. Elevating customer experience

Customer experience will make or break your success as a SaaS business. If customers have negative experiences with your brand, there’s no way they’ll make a purchase or continue being a customer. 

Reacting to customer pain points will help boost your customer experience, as the entire journey will be made as straightforward and simple as possible. This will allow customers to associate your organization with efficiency, customer care, and positivity.

Addressing customer friction points should, therefore, be a key part of your strategy for improving customer experience — it’s a brilliant way to ensure that every client has a positive experience and is more likely to continue using your service. 

Read more: 4 Marketing Automation Strategies to Improve Customer Experience

2. Helping product optimization

When designing your product, you can sometimes be so fixated on ensuring that it addresses all of the main goals and outcomes you want it to solve. This can sometimes mean that pain points go unaddressed in the design stage. 

However, you shouldn’t ignore post-purchase friction and hope that customers ignore it. Instead, addressing friction points within the product is a great way to optimize it. 

This will make it more likely for customers to recommend your product to other potential clients, while also giving your customers a much better customer journey from start to finish. You’ll also be confident that your product compares well with your competitors if you use feedback to address friction. 

3. Minimizing customer churn 

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Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

Knowing what is customer attrition and being able to resolve it is a core part of ensuring that your business is successful. 

This is especially true for SaaS, as subscription-based models depend on customers continuing to use your product. Minimizing customer churn should, therefore, be a priority as you look to grow your company.

Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. Are you going to continue paying a company if you experience obstacle after obstacle when you try to use their product? Identifying and removing these obstacles is a great way to reduce customer churn and ensure that you have a loyal core of customers who you can rely on and know they can rely on you!

How to remove customer friction points – a step-by-step guide

If you want to reduce customer churn and ensure that your business is as successful as possible, there’s nothing better than identifying and removing the friction points in the customer journey. But how can you practically do this in your business? Here’s our step-by-step guide to removing customer friction points: 

1. Locate the points of user friction

Every organization will have its own unique points of customer friction, so the first step always needs to be identifying where those pain points exist in your specific customer journey. When looking for user friction, you should divide the friction into the four types of customer friction that we highlighted above. This will help you to cover everything in a manageable way.

One of the best ways to find out where user friction lies is through the use of web analytics and data collection methods. This will allow you to see critical details such as load times, cart abandonment rates, and bounce rates. Suddenly, you’ll have a clear picture of what can be improved on your website. 

black and silver laptop computer
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

This sort of analytics and data can also be useful when it comes to post-subscription friction. You might want to track customer behavior in your software after purchase or monitor the types of support requests in order to identify any trends or patterns in customers’ difficulties with your product after purchase.

As well as using analytics, you could use more qualitative forms of data. You might want to use surveys or focus groups to learn the most disruptive customer pain points. You could also just use common sense. Go through the customer journey yourself and try to identify where the pain points are!

2. Focus on optimizing your website 

One of the things that you’ll probably find when you’re researching the friction points in your own customer journey is that your website is a common location where customers encounter obstacles.

This is crucial as it takes only 50 milliseconds for someone to form an opinion about your website. You need to make sure that every part of your website is optimized to lead to conversions – otherwise, all your hard work in marketing will be useless!

Make sure that customers don’t have to navigate through many different pages to access your product, allow clients to make a purchase without having to go through a lengthy signup process, and remove unnecessary ads or automated chats. 

This will ensure that your website is tailored to its specific goal — to allow customers to make a purchase!

3. Evaluate your checkout systems

Another common cause of customer churn is a needlessly complex checkout system. Of course, there are other things that you’ll have to consider when it comes to the checkout process, such as making sure that it is secure. However, you should still evaluate its success.

If your cart abandonment rate is high, this is a clear sign that you need to make it easier for customers to complete a purchase. Try reducing the amount of required fields to the bare minimum, as this is a common conversion obstacle.

Similarly, you might want to increase the number of payment options. Sometimes, a purchase box that only allows credit cards can be a turnoff for customers used to paying with PayPal. Providing more payment options will certainly reduce user friction during the payment process.

4. Ensure that your support is clear and signposted

Regardless of where user friction is encountered, customers will likely look for support to help them overcome that problem. However, unclear support or unhelpful customer service will simply multiply the effect of the initial friction point – so you need to ensure that support is as useful as possible. 

Make sure that customer support is highlighted clearly on your website and in your product itself. Consider having a clearly written FAQ section on your website. You must also have a well-trained core of customer support assistants to deal directly with the more complex issues. 

Leveraging tools like Person Search can also aid customer support teams in quickly accessing relevant customer information, enabling them to provide more personalized assistance and efficiently resolve issues.

Ultimately, customer support is a key part of the customer experience – you don’t want to make any issues worse by making that support unhelpful or difficult to find. 

5. Review your user onboarding

In SaaS, user onboarding is possibly the most important part of ensuring that customers keep returning to do business with you. After all, there’s no chance that a customer will renew a subscription if they cannot use your software effectively. 

Onboarding can take many forms: you might want to use clear and informative written content that customers can refer to when they’re setting up the software, for instance. Alternatively, you could consider creating a set of videos that show users practically how to make the most out of their new purchase. 

This also relates to the earlier point about customer service: you’ll need to ensure that customers can access extra support at every point in the onboarding process. 

You could also respond to customer feedback to make bigger changes to your product itself, especially if any obvious pain points are an integral barrier to the effectiveness of the software. 

For instance, if you run an invoicing app, ensuring the onboarding process for setting up invoices is intuitive and supported by clear instructions can significantly reduce post-purchase friction. 

There’s usually something about your software that you can simplify which will help to reduce customer friction after purchase. 

The great thing about SaaS is that you can easily update your products and provide additional onboarding support through email or other forms of customer service. This means that there’s really no excuse for not removing common customer friction points even after a purchase has been made!

Addressing customer friction points: the key to reducing customer churn

If you want to experience true business success in the world of SaaS, you need to do everything you can to minimize customer churn — this will boost subscription rates and mean that you don’t have to spend as much on marketing to try to increase customer acquisition.

That’s why identifying and addressing customer friction points is such an important process for any SaaS business. By putting yourselves in the shoes of your customers, you can locate where and when your clients encounter frustrating obstacles. This will allow you to remove these obstacles using the steps we’ve explained in this article.

So, what are you waiting for? Start to reduce customer churn by addressing customer friction points today!

Read next: How to Successfully Manage Churn in Your Business

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