Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Driving Improved Customer Service With Role-Based Analytics


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We’re just over two weeks into 2018. Did you make any resolutions for yourself? Perhaps you want to get fit, eat better, or save more for retirement? Many businesses have set their resolutions, as well, though they call them goals.

Like individuals, businesses set goals to improve something or to move to the next level. They might include issues like increasing efficiencies, driving profits, or improving customer service.

Individuals have a hard enough time keeping resolutions, and they are a single person determining success or failure. For businesses, it’s a lot more complex: goals are often set at the executive level and flow down through management to the individual contributor level. The ability of the business to meets its goals lies in both alignment from top-to-bottom, but also that everyone understands the goals and the impact their contribution is having in achieving them. Sometimes missing, though, is the visibility at all levels into work performance as it relates to their part in shared goals.

There is a solution to this! By embedding role-based analytics throughout the business.

Let’s say a company is trying to drive improvements in customer service, specifically around customer satisfaction scores (or CSATs). Analytics at each level of the organization can provide the correct insights to communicate and drive the change necessary.

Executive Level

At the highest level of the organization, visibility to CSAT trends is critical. Customer satisfaction is one indicator of loyalty, and as Forrester Research and others have pointed out, loyalty drives revenue.

The head of customer service is aware of this link between service and revenue. But great service comes at a cost, and leadership probably doesn’t have limitless funds to spend on service. As a result, they are interested in optimizing the relationship between service expenses–staffing, technology, etc.–and CSATs.

Their dashboard of analytics is going to reflect this interest in CSATs and costs, and the connection between them. As they invest in customer service–making funds available to management to hire more agents to answer telephone calls, chats, and emails or to implement newer, more efficient customer service technologies–they will see how that has an impact on CSATs.

Returning back to the point about how CSATs and loyalty drive revenue, another typical relationship the head of customer service–as well as the rest of the executive team–could be monitoring in their dashboard is the correlation between CSATs and sales. Of particular interest might be the relationship between the CSATs and spending of top customers, but of course monitoring the sentiment of the entire customer base and their individual spending is something also easily followed.

Management and Operations

The management level is where the more tactical options will be identified and implemented. Here, the focus is on the relationship between the problem areas affecting CSATs and the remedial actions to be taken and their result.

Let’s consider what their dashboard might look like. Management would be concerned with service level performance across all service channels, since long wait and handle times can negatively influence CSATs. They would be monitoring their team members’ individual CSAT scores, to determine which agents were delivering higher numbers and those with lower numbers who might benefit from additional training or coaching. CSATs measuring customers’ experience across all available service channels–such as automated self-service, online communities, and knowledge bases–is equally important. But that’s not all.

While numbers and graphs can provide an overall view, it’s digging into the details that help drive the remedial action necessary to improve CSATs. Review customers’ CSAT comments, and be on the lookout for remarks such as:

  • “I waited on hold for too long” (a staffing issue exists)

  • “My agent didn’t seem to know what he was talking about” (indicating a need for additional training)

  • “The agent was rude” (time for some coaching)

  • “The directions didn’t make sense” (a knowledge base article requires updating)

In The Trenches

Outside of automation and other self-service options, the agent’s work will be the biggest influence on CSATs. Some of the most important analytics to make visible to them as they work are the following:

  • Their current average CSATs–and providing them the ability to see it today and the trend over time

  • Their average compared to peers (because gamification might provide an additional push)

  • Their bearing on the current CSAT goal so they can not only be aware of the overall goal but also to demonstrate how their personal contribution is making an impact

As they work directly with customers, more in-context, relevant data can be helpful: for example, greater awareness of customer’s situation and sentiment as they assist them. Does this customer’s last reported CSATs indicate prior interactions were poor? Have they opened more cases than similar customers, on average, and might be frustrated? A little extra information about the customer disposition gives agents the insight they need to go above-and-beyond and positively impact CSATs.

Alignment With Visibility Drives Results

Setting goals is a great opportunity for a company to not only understand where they are, but where they aspire to be. But in order to be successful in achieving them, a company must cascade them throughout the organization–from the strategic to operational and tactical levels–to ensure alignment. In addition, visibility to execution at each level is needed.

A customer service organization can definitely benefit from this approach. While the executive level is focused on summations of CSAT across the larger organization and managing costs, management can monitor team performance and other operation that influence. Meanwhile, the customer service agent can see how their individual actions are impacting results. With the entire service organization aware of its shared, measurable customer satisfaction goals and each level has visibility to their performance, the correct behaviors are driven and faster, impactful change is more readily achieved. Are you making the right insights available at all levels of your organization?

Source: B2C

Leveraging Amazon’s Success To Grow Your Business [Infographic]

Amazon is a powerful force, and leveraging that proven power can help you to grow your small business greater than you could do it alone. There are many different opportunities for small business owners to forge alliances with the retail giant, but being an online seller is probably one of the most profitable. Imagine taking your corner store and expanding its reach to the farthest ends of the Earth. You don’t have to choose between being a mom and pop retailer or being a massive online retailer anymore – Amazon can help you to do both.

Most people know about things like books, e-readers, and Prime when it comes to Amazon. You know you can buy just about anything under the sun from the online retailer. But unless you are a seller too you may not realize how many people and companies make up their vast army of sellers. In fact, 40% of sales come from third party vendors, and Amazon’s cut alone in 2016 was $23 billion. There’s a lot of money to be made by leveraging one of the most powerful selling platforms in history.

It may surprise you to learn that sellers are raking in plenty of money just by selling on Amazon. Seller stats break down this way:

  • 0.6% make $50 million a year

  • 2% make $10 million a year

  • 13% make between $1-10 million a year

  • 36% make between $100k and $1 million per year

  • 49% make less than $100k a year

The top two categories are home and kitchen and toys and games, but the platform is so far reaching that any category will give you the opportunity to get your wares in front of millions more customers than you could do on your own. Learn more about how Amazon makes its money from this infographic and start thinking about how your business could leverage its power.

Infographic image source: Sellbrite

Source: B2C

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp And Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man Ready For Battle In Photos Of New Costumes

Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man can be seen in a new image for the upcoming Marvel sequel. Lilly’s Hope van Dyne was forced to sit out the action during Marvel’s Ant-Man but now, for Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hope stands side by side with her comrade in arms as she assumes her mother’s mantle and gets the co-title role she rightfully deserves. Marvel fans can rejoice at the inclusion of The Wasp.

First he will be helping his fellow Marvel superheroes battle Thanos and the Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War, and then he will be shrinking back into action a few months later for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

With “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the story is set in the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War” as Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Trying to rebalance his life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he is confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission – forcing him to once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside the Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.

Michelle Pfeiffer will play Janet van Dyne, Hope’s mother and the original Wasp. The character appeared very briefly in Ant-Man through a flashback that saw her entering the Quantum Realm, where she was presumably lost forever in its infinite expanse.

Also appearing are Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch, Randall Park as agent Jimmy Woo, Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster, Judy Greer as Maggie Lang, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Michael Pena as Luis, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, and rapper T.I. as Dave.

Here are some reactions on social media to the costumes of Ant-Man and The Wasp.

In the first film, forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) recruits the talents of Scott Lang (Rudd), a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.

The original 2015 tentpole grossed $519 million worldwide, including $180 million domestically. Rudd most recently reprised the role in “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Ant-Man And The Wasp” is slated to open July 6th 2018.

What did you think of the

Photo Credit: Marvel/Disney

Source: B2C

How to Nail a Behavioral-Based Marketing Job Interview

As experienced marketing headhunters, we see many candidates going in for interviews encounter behavioral interviews. Whether these candidates come from digital, e-commerce, brand or any other backgrounds, we find that our clients frequently conduct behavioral interviews. This is one of the most common job interview methodologies employers use to evaluate talent.

While behavioral interviews have been around for a long time, our marketing recruiters see a notable rise in the popularity of this approach.

Marketing Headhunters Explain How to Master Behavioral Interviews

Simply put, behavioral interview questions ask candidates to describe a scenario they’ve encountered in the past and how they managed the situation.

A behavioral interview essentially demonstrates that the organization understands what success looks like for their specific role and the types of behaviors that relate to success. The questions that you are asked are used to assess how you’ve approached challenges in the past, so the marketing recruiter can get an idea of how you perform when faced with similar challenges.

What to Expect

There are two clear giveaways that indicate you’re in a behavioral interview – if the interviewer asks to tell “about a time when” or asks for a specific example of a certain situation. For instance, a marketing recruiter or a potential employer may ask you to give an example of a time where you had to manage multiple conflicting priorities. These types of questions are used to gauge you on your motivation, leadership, and cross-functional communication.

More importantly, you’re going to encounter questions that are specific to the type of role you are going in for. If it’s a brand management role, you may get questions that ask you to give an example of a time when you took over a brand that wasn’t doing well and how you turned it around. If it’s a digital marketing role, marketing recruiters may ask you to describe a time when you went into an organization where digital was fundamentally broken, and how you fixed it.

The Details Matter

marketing headhunters marketing recruiter

If you’re answering a behavioral-based question, it’s critical to ensure that the interviewer completely understands the situation you are presenting.

This entails answering the question comprehensively and sharing specific details, so make sure to give an overview of the situation and the challenge you faced at the time. You then want to share how you broke down the problem, the things you did to solve the problem, what your strategy was for approaching it this way, and what you did tactically to execute against the solution. But most importantly, ensure to explain the results you drove for the organization and how that organization is better off because you implemented the solution.

Another critical element about answering behavioral-based questions is that you give a clear and complete answer. However, don’t spend the entire interview answering just one question – make sure your answer is detailed enough but concise so the interviewer has the opportunity to ask more questions.

Prepare Like a Pro

marketing headhunters marketing recruiter

It’s critical to properly prepare for an interview so that you’re able to go through your background and pull out key wins and successes that showcase you’re the top candidate for this specific position.

Once you’ve prepared yourself adequately, conduct research on the organization and the position. Then, come up with some sample behavioral questions you think they might ask, with answers that are based on your background, experience, and your key accomplishments so you get comfortable answering this kind of questions.

One of the major things to make sure of is that you don’t answer a behavioral-based question without providing a solid example to support your solution. Make sure that every question you answer comes with a real world example of your success and accomplishments.

When You Get Asked about a Failure

marketing headhunters marketing recruiter

In a behavioral interview, employers also want to understand how you deal with failure and how you’ve overcome situations where you haven’t been successful in the past. You might be asked to give an example of a time where you failed, when you weren’t successful, or a time when you faced constraints that kept you from moving forward.

In each of those questions, the right answer isn’t to say you’ve never failed. You want to demonstrate you’ve learned from the times you weren’t successful, and that you won’t repeat similar mistakes again.

Get the Details

Marketing headhunters recognize how common behavioral interviews are in today’s recruitment space. Thus, it’s important for marketing executives and all marketers to properly prepare. Any interview you walk into now, whether for a senior role or a junior to mid level position, could be a behavioral one. To get detailed information on succeeding in behavioral interviews, watch this video:

Bonus: Frequently Asked Behavioral Interview Questions

  1. Marketing is changing faster than ever – what have you done to make sure you haven’t fallen behind?

  2. Marketers have a lot of responsibilities and expectations put on them – how do you prioritize multiple tasks on your plate?

  3. How about a time when you fell short of a goal – what happened, and how did you cope with a failure?

  4. Tell me about a situation when you worked as part of a team to execute a mission-critical marketing project and the role you played.

  5. How did you handle negative feedback on your work from a peer, client or supervisor in the past?

Source: B2C

How to Tell Better Stories with YouTube Bumper Ads

If you’re going to be telling your story in attempts to raise brand awareness, would you rather do it in a single three minute long video, or a short video that’s kept under fifteen seconds or less? Most people would choose the longer video—it gives you more time for details, story development, and background information. They wouldn’t even think about adding on a short form video. For many businesses, however, increasing the use of short form video ads- alone or in conjunction with longer videos- has proven to be incredibly lucrative.

Despite what all your initial instincts may be telling you, short form video ads-officially known through Google as “bumper ads”- are actually an incredible medium for storytelling and brand building. Google is encouraging brands to use them more frequently, and plenty of businesses are already seeing great results from them. You just need to know how to use them correctly.

In this post, we’re going to go over how you can tell better stories with short form video and YouTube bumper ads for your business.

What Are YouTube Bumper Ads?

YouTube bumper ads are a part of Google Adwords’ ad system. They are just six seconds long, and they’re an add-on to the traditional TrueView video ads, which aren’t restricted by time limits.

They’re meant to serve as short, brief snippets of the big picture, extending the reach of your video campaigns overall. Bumper ads should complement the more long-form video ads in order to be most effective; in many cases, they’ll be used together.

What Are the Benefits of Short Form Video Ads?

Short form video ads– including YouTube bumper ads– have a lot of benefits that businesses sometimes overlook. The first one is obvious: it’s much faster and easier to make short form video ads. They don’t require nearly as much editing, script work, or rehearsals. This is a huge plus, especially considering that it will also be a lot cheaper, too.

Short form video ads can also capture users’ attention just a little bit better. Viewer retention rates can be difficult to hold on to because there’s so much competition for users’ attention online. As a result, being able to get your full-if brief- point across in a 6 second video increases the likelihood that they’ll click through to learn more than if you lost them 15 seconds into a longer one.

Sure, you eventually need longer video content in order to give customers the full picture. That being said, YouTube’s bumper ads are a great way to capture their attention and draw them in. They do this quickly and effectively– and affordably. Based on some case studies, creative use of bumper ads can help increase the reach, impact, and cost effectiveness of your video ads overall.

How to Use YouTube Bumper Ads to Tell Better Stories

Just because you’ve only got a few seconds doesn’t mean that they can’t useful story-telling agents. Let’s take a look at three different ways Google recommends to use short-form bumper ads:

  • Teasing long form content. Six seconds isn’t a lot of time, but when you consider that you’ll gain or lose a users’ attention in three seconds, it looks a heck of a lot better. Use this opportunity to pique users’ interest and get them to click to the more long-form content.

  • Showcase larger parts of the whole. You could, for example, introduce each business participating in the event you’re promoting with bumper ads before sending them to the event’s full promo. You can also focus on individual products within a whole. Make up company La Mer used this strategy, focusing in on a single product in the bumper ads and ending it with zooming out to show the full product line.

  • Tell the story in small chunks. Serializing your bumper ads are a good way to go. Slowly release different bumper ads showcasing different parts of the story. Preferably, they shouldn’t have to fall in a distinct order, but each should be interesting enough to make people want to learn more about the full story. This is particularly efficient as a re-engagement strategy, where you show additional content to users who have already watched long form content through bumper ads. Halo Wars 2 used this strategy.


Can I Repurpose YouTube Bumper Ads?

Absolutely. There are two great ways to repurpose these exceptionally short-form video ads so you can get the most out of the video content you’ve created.

The first is to compile the clips, if relevant, into a single more long-form video. You can use video creation software like Shakr to help you do this in just a few minutes; just pick a template, and drop your clips into place. You can then post this on social media for organic hits. Since video is so important on all social media sites (being prioritized by both users and algorithms), it never hurts to have more to add to your video libraries.

You can also upload the short bumper videos to your Instagram Stories, and use it to send viewers to longer newsfeed Instagram stories or to your site. Since Instagram Stories can only last 15 seconds or under, 6 seconds puts you right in the sweet spot. And now, since Instagram lets you keep Story Highlights, you’ll be able to benefit from them long term instead of just for 24 hours.

Final Thoughts

YouTube bumper ads were rolled out last year, and now that brands are starting to use them more, we can see how beneficial they can truly be. They can help you expand your reach, pique interest, and get more impressions while costing less than more long-form videos, and they can also be repurposed outside of Google Adwords. There are plenty of benefits and almost no drawbacks, so test them out and see how well they work for your business.

Want to repurpose some short form videos into longer content for other channels?

Source: B2C

4 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Cybersecurity

If you’re a small business owner who thinks that you don’t need to worry about about cyber security, think again. The Ponemon Institute’s 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity report surveyed 600 small businesses, finding not only that “no business is immune to a cyber attack or data breach,” but that a surprisingly high number of small businesses suffered cyber attacks in 2016. According to Ponemon:

  • 50% of SMBs were breached in 2016.

  • The most prevalent attacks against SMBs were web-based and phishing/social engineering.

  • 59% of SMBs have no visibility into employee password practices and hygiene.

  • 65% of SMBs that have a password policy do not strictly enforce it.

Adding to the problem is that fact that even though attacks on small businesses are up, concern surrounding the topic is low. A separate poll found that a vast majority of small business owners — 87 percent, according to Manta Media Inc. — do not feel their business is at risk of experiencing a data breach.

SMBs need to wake up and realize that they are sitting ducks — especially if they’re unprepared and of the opinion that they’re in no danger at all; an unprepared target is a perfect target. Protection against cyber attack is of the utmost importance, and preparation is key to survival in a digital world. Here are five ways that small businesses can improve their cybersecurity.

1. Run a Cyber Security Risk Assessment

Every business, big and small, should run a cyber security risk assessment. Maryville University’s Cyber Security Resources list the core concepts and principles of proper risk assessment:

  • Take stock of the system: its size, number of hardware- and cloud-based access points, partner organizations and vendors, what information is stored and shared and its sensitivity.

  • Look at potential threats: According to Sage Data Security, in addition to hacker intrusions or data breaches executed by disgruntled employees, one must also consider breaches resulting from human error, be it poor data backup, insufficient encryption and data traveling through unsecured channels.

  • Analyze the environment: This step involves the examination of controls governing factors like administrator access, user authentication and provisioning, infrastructure data protection, continuity of operations and others. How vulnerable are these individual controls to the threats an organization is most likely to face?

  • Likelihood: Consider the probability of each breach type and its point of origin. This can, depending on organizational or network complexity, involve dozens of breach/source pairings.

  • Final risk assessment: Multiply the likelihood of breach against its resultant damage to determine a risk rating. For example, if an organization is likely to experience breach attempts due to the valuable information its handling and the results of such a breach would be catastrophic, the business has an extremely high risk rating.

2. Create a Document Management Plan

A majority of today’s breaches occur because of simple human mistakes — documents sent to the wrong inbox or to a phishing email, or even physical documents discarded in the wrong bin. A document management plan keeps a vigilant watch over status of all company documents, meaning that these errors are caught before they occur. Record Nations mentions that common components of a document management plan will typically include:

  • Conducting a complete inventory of all currently-existing records

  • Designating a single employee or manager with responsibility for the record management process

  • Developing a record retention and destruction schedule—typically with varying retention guidelines by state

  • Evaluating and determining the best method(s) for storing and managing records

  • Creating, documenting, and establishing proper company procedures for record storage and disposal

  • Implementing your policy, training employees, and ensuring constant communication throughout the company on any procedural changes

  • Creating a backup disaster recovery plan in the event of a breach or other emergency to immediately minimize damage

  • Maintaining, auditing, and optimizing prevention and recovery plans to maximize efficiency and effectiveness

3. Educate Your Employees

As mentioned in the components of a document management plan, employee education after implementation is key for it to work. In reality, employees need to be educated on more than document management. In XMedius’s post, “3 Major Data Security Risks Every Business Should Know About”, the first point made is that employees don’t know how to protect data. They write:

“It’s safe to assume that unless we work for a company specializing in IT security, the average worker goes about their day handling and sending sensitive data without thinking about hackers or data loss. It’s actually the lack of security awareness and skills that makes organizations an easier target for hackers or disgruntled employees who have access to networks and admin accounts.”

The solution here is mandatory compliance training for employees working with either protected health information (PHI) or personally identifiable information (PII), as well as mandatory training sessions that teach password and workstation security best practices.

4. Have a Recovery Plan

…because chances are you’re going to suffer a cyber attack. This isn’t something most small businesses want to hear, but it’s the truth. To minimize how effective these attacks are on your business, Eva Velasquez, writing for Intuit’s Firm of the Future blog, recommends consistently changing passwords, watching out for phishing emails, and monitoring company financial accounts. Of course, prevention is only half the battle.

If you are hit by malware — specifically ransomware, which encrypts the drives on your computers and demands ransom for decryption — the only thing you can really do is a complete system restore. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a proper backup strategy, you’ll either be reverting to outdated restore images or unable to restore at all. Make sure you’re backing up everything in case of such an instance.

Beyond a backup plan, recovery plans include solutions so that your customers aren’t left in the dark waiting for products and services while you get your systems back online. Downtime reduction in recovery is huge, so make sure you’re investing in it.

If businesses heed these four simple rules, their cyber security will improve tremendously. Don’t get caught with your pants down, and make sure that you’re constantly sizing up your cyber security measures — bet your bottom dollar, cyber criminals already are.

Source: B2C

Reduce Product Friction to Increase User Adoption and Retention

Wonder why customers aren’t using your digital product? It may be time to examine product friction.

Product friction is anything that represents a barrier to user adoption or retention. From an overly complicated sign-up process to difficult-to-navigate menus, if too much friction exists, customers will not change their current behavior to use your product, no matter how great it is. That’s why it is critical to detect and anticipate friction points by monitoring a customer’s journey with your product.

According to Kintan Brahmbhatt, Director of Product Management and Technical Program Management at Amazon, “When building products, you’re always either removing, adding, or masking friction.” Sometimes friction is unavoidable, but it is critical to remove as much friction as possible – and continue to proactively combat friction as your product evolves.”

There are three types of product friction:

Friction due to unfamiliarity

If a customer downloads your product and does not understand how to use it, friction already exists. This is one of the most difficult challenges when introducing a new product to users.

Friction by design

Sometimes friction is intentionally built into a product. Brahmbhatt says if your product does have a learning curve, you must design the experience thoughtfully.

Friction due to misalignment with human behavior

This friction is caused when your product fails to anticipate how consumers will use it. Examples include a poorly designed navigation or device incompatibility for those you say your product supports.

Reduced product friction results in less user frustration and higher retention – but how do you remove friction completely? In an article on product friction, TechCrunch discussed how companies such as Uber deliver frictionless product experiences that keep users coming back. Here’s an example TechCrunch shared of a frictionless product experience in action (friction points italicized below):

The Taxi Experience

  • Find a Car: Stand on the street and attempt to hail a cab. In major cities, this can be a long, frustrating experience.

  • Set Destination: Tell the driver where you’d like to go.

  • Ride: Many taxis aren’t the most peaceful drivers.

  • Pay: Take out your wallet and pay with cash or card.

  • Tip: Calculate the tip to add to your fare.

The Uber Experience

  • Find a Car: Open the Uber app and select Pick Me Up. The car usually arrives in 10 minutes or less. Users can track the location of their Uber in the app.

  • Set Destination: Add your destination in the app ahead of time to let the driver know where you’re going.

  • Ride: Almost always a quiet, peaceful experience.

  • Pay: Credit card information is added to the app ahead of time. At the end of the trip, your card is charged automatically.

  • Tip: Uber calculates the tip for you and included in the fare.

Uber has reduced all friction for the user, making it a pleasurable experience that has resulted in huge success for the company. Uber continues to keep product friction top of mind as the company grows, adding offerings such as UberBlack, which provides users with a more elevated ride experience in a high-end black car with professional drivers, and uberPool, affordable door-to-door rides that allow users to share the ride and the cost.

You probably experience friction daily and not even realize it. Consider checking out at the grocery store, paying for your morning latte, or placing an online order. Digging through your bag for your wallet or manually entering card information can be a time-consuming process. Inserting payment information on small screens can also be difficult and cumbersome. This is an experience that benefits neither the merchant nor the customer. Aimed at solving one of the biggest pain points in mobile commerce, Apple Pay hopes to eliminate checkout frustration.

With Apple Pay, users can make secure purchases in stores, in apps, and on the Internet using the Apple products they carry every day. Users can even send and receive money from family and friends directly in Messages. Calling itself “a next generation checkout solution,” Apple Pay’s seamless transactions, speedy one-click payments, and Touch ID technology decrease fraud, increase consumer trust, and reduce friction points such as the need to manually enter detailed payment information. Companies and retailers including AirBnB, Target, McDonalds, and Walgreens are already seeing success with Apple Pay for mobile conversions – and their customers are loving it. For a list of other retailers and restaurants that accept Apple Pay, check out this list provided by Apple.

One final product example comes from Columbus-based Root Insurance. Root is the first car insurance company that was “founded on the relentless pursuit of fairness.” The company uses an app to rate drivers based on how they drive – the better the driver, the better the rate.

In a TechCrunch article, Root founder, Alex Timm, discussed Root’s success and how the company’s goal is to “make the fairest, simplest product”, something that cannot be done when multiple instances of friction exist. Think back to the last time you shopped for a new auto insurance policy. Did you encounter product friction? Odds are the process to get a quote went something like this:

  • Go to an insurance provider’s website and click Get a Quote

  • Add your personal Information – a lengthy process which includes:

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Vehicle make, model, usage and mileage

  3. Driver information, including marital status, social security number, home ownership status, employment status, and education history

  4. Previous traffic violations

  • Receive quote

  • Accept quote and purchase (or continue to search for alternatives)

  • Contact previous auto insurer to cancel policy

Knowing that shopping for auto insurance is often a tedious, frustrating experience, Root set out to remake the process of applying for – and insuring – drivers. Unlike other insurers, Root’s entire process can be done from a smartphone, no need for a computer. Users download the Root app, scan their drivers’ license, and Root’s software automatically updates the insurance application with the required personal information. Before receiving a quote, users are required to take a test drive; the app tracks their driving (braking, turns, how much they drive, etc.) using the accelerometer and other sensors on their smartphones to calculate rates. If you receive a quote, you can customize and purchase your policy, make changes to the policy, file a claim, and even have Root cancel your old insurance for you, all without leaving the Root app.

As stated earlier, sometimes friction is intentionally built into a product; however, in these cases it is critical to design this user experience thoughtfully. As part of its application process, Root’s test drive takes 2-3 weeks’ time. For some users, this may be too long to wait for a quote and other competitors, despite a lengthy process, can provide quotes instantly. So, why does Root include this as part of their product design? Remember, the quote is based on how well you drive, which takes more than a few minutes to evaluate. But, is the wait worth it to users and does it ultimately improve the user’s experience with the product?

The answer, based on Root’s rapid growth and continued expansion into states across the country, is yes. By not insuring bad drivers, Root is able to save good drivers as much as 52% on their car insurance. On average, Root, can save 20% on the typical insurance policy. The lowest premiums the company has issued are $12 per month. According to Timm, “For the best 30% of drivers we cut the price [of insurance] in half. For the best 70% of drivers, we’re the cheapest in the market.”

To help you deliver a frictionless user experience, AWH – a digital product consulting, user experience, and software development firm – has created a scorecard outlining common causes of product friction. Use the scorecard to identify and address potential friction areas to dramatically improve product adoption and retention. A score of three (3) points or more may put your product at risk. A score of five (5) points or more will likely be a friction threshold that is insurmountable.

Source: B2C