Out The Friction!

You need some Printed Circuit Boards, so you Google  “Printed Circuit Boards”, and you get the name of a number of shops. Not necessarily the best shops, but at least the best at SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Anyway you get the names of some shops and you call one up, probably the first one on the list. You get an automated voicemail system, instead of a human being…that’s friction. You listen to the instructions the voice gives you and still can’t get exactly what you want…that’s friction. As a last resort you give up and punch “O” for the operator and the phone rings, and rings, and rings, and you go to voicemail, more friction, and the voicemail is a general voicemail box, ugh and more friction. You leave your message, knowing that no one is ever going to call back, assumed friction in that case. And then you move on to the next name on the Google listing.

Isn’t that great? All the money that  first company spent on buying their way up the Google listing, and that could be up to $100,000 a month was all for nothing. That money was all wasted, because someone, probably a great voicemail systems salesperson, by the way, sold them that friction creating phone system.

If you were not familiar with the term “Friction” when you read the title of this piece a few minutes ago, you are now right? Friction is anything that stands in the way of easily and smoothly doing business with your company. Like those nasty phone systems, and those company policies that make it difficult for your people to give your customers what they want. That is friction. And friction is the last thing you want your organization to have any of. 

I got the term friction, from a great new book called, Run Frictionless: How to Free a Founder from the Sales Role  by  Anthony Coundouris. The focus of this book is to help the reader develop systems that will make her company run as easily as possible and doing business with her company is problem free as possible.

The author advises companies to use what he calls the 4Q system which stands for four quadrants based on these questions:

  • Quadrant One: Who we serve. Here you define exactly who your customer is…exactly who the customer, is along with who is not your customer. This eliminates spending time and effort on the wrong customers and focusing completely on the right customers. Once again with the goal of providing a frictionless solution.
  • Quadrant Two: What we serve: This is all about the product, establishing exactly what your product is, and what it is not, to make sure that you are focused on providing the best product solution possible to the right customer.
  • Quadrant Three: Who we are:  This is the quadrant that is focused on defining your own company, its story, its brand, what you do best. and what you do not do so well. This kind of self-examination will allow you to be your best by doing what you do best and not wasting time on what you don’t do well.
  • Quadrant Four: How we serve: The thing that is interesting about this quadrant is that it focuses on what you actually seem like to your customer. You walk in your customers’ shoes and imagine what it is like to be your own customer. This is without a doubt a very revealing, and sometimes painful exercise.  The author guides you in figuring out the minimum amount of customer transactions that it takes to become your customer. Right down to the number of calls, emails, videos, seminars, ads, and whatever else it takes to become a customer. Yes, you get to try out that great phone system you purchased and see how you like it. Frankly, if you have one of those phone systems, why don’t you put this column aside and go call your own company right now, I’ll wait…Well, how did you like it? I bet not too much right? Sorry I just couldn’t help myself.

The author goes on to discuss how to serve more customers with less effort, which is of course, something you can do if you have a completely frictionless, organization. He also shows the reader how to serve more customers faster.

It gets down to this. If you know exactly who you are, what you sell, and to whom you sell it; and then how you are going to sell it you will learn about what is important and what it not. This allows you to work on removing everything that is not important, the friction, those obstacles to securing and servicing your customers. And you will be able to serve many more customers, and serve them better than ever before. To quote the author. “Fewer interactions make for less friction” and less friction means more customers, and especially more happy customers which is why we are all in business in the first place.I urge all of you to go to Amazon and buy Run Frictionless: How to Free a Founder from the Sales Role  by  Anthony Coundouris. It is a quick, easy, interesting and informative read that could help you improve the way you do business. And who can ask for more than that?  Out the friction! It’s only common sense.

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