How to make things easier for your customers: Richard Shotton explains why friction is your enemy

Picture for category How to make things easier for your customers: Richard Shotton explains why friction is your enemy

As we have mentioned before -and we’ll definitely do so again in the future- much of the success you are looking for in your online business lies in consumer psychology and behaviour. Behavioural scientist and fellow Sherpa, Richard Shotton shares a valuable tip to help you confront a major enemy: friction. Shotton argues that if people try to make things as easy as possible for their customers, they will see great improvement in their business in terms of conversions and satisfaction. To back this argument, he talks about an experiment which was carried out in the education sector but can be easily applied in Marketing. Here is the full article, as featured in Sherpa Society’s White Paper: 

"In a recent interview Daniel Kahneman said that his single biggest learning about changing behaviour was that it’s often more effective to focus on making the desired behaviour easy, rather than trying to change motivation levels.  You don’t have to take Kahneman at his word. Evidence for this comes from an experiment by two psychologists, Bergman and Rogers, working with the Department of Education. The Department had created a new offering that helped parents encourage their children to study. 

The psychologists randomly assigned parents into three different ways of signing up for the service. They launched the service in one of three ways: 

 1.     Standard. Parents were sent a text message saying that they could adopt the technology by enrolling on a website. 

 2.     Simplified. Parents were told by text message that they could sign up just by replying “Start”. 

 3.     Automatically enrolled. Parents were told by text message that they could opt out of the service by replying “Stop”. 

 The signup rates varied massively dependent on the level of effort required: 1% for the Standard group, 8% for the Simplified group, and 96% for the Automatic Enrolment group. The psychologists then surveyed 130 education experts (e.g. senior teachers and administrators) to find out how effective they thought each approach would be. The experts correctly guessed that additional effort would put people off, but they were wildly wrong about the scale of that impact. They predicted uptakes of 39%, 48% and 66%. That’s a swing of just 27% points – in reality there was a 95%-point swing. 

 The psychologists argued that this mistake is remarkably common. Not only do small barriers have a big effect on behaviour change but that those involved in the creation of the project typically significantly underestimate the effect of those barriers. 

 So, if you do one thing differently in 2022 focus more on removing friction from the customer journey. What are the tiny, seemingly inconsequential, pieces of friction along the way? If you remove them, it is likely to have a bigger than expected impact."   

 👉 See how Richard Shotton can help you upgrade your business.