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May 25, 2021 | Authored by: Jack Bullock

What does a world with friction look like?

Remember when you had to manually enter an event into your diary, rather than just syncing your calendar with an email invitation? Or when you would subscribe to a magazine by mailing in a check, every year?!

We are so used to the fact that everything today is connected and “frictionless,” it is hard to imagine what the world was like before.

But we need to talk about frictions, because they are a key factor impacting the ability of CROs to generate reliable revenue streams.

Is frictionless just fantasy?

Subscription brands have become so vested in creating frictionless experiences, we’ve almost forgotten about the other side of the coin: frictions. But friction in customer experiences will always exist. We do not live in utopia (unfortunately). Without day, there’s no night. Without darkness, there’s no light. Without friction, there can be no human interactions.

Once we’ve accepted the fact that we haven’t (and will never) achieve 100% frictionless interactions, decision makers are in a better place to discuss honestly where frictions lie and what we can do about them to ensure better subscription experiences.

What friction looks like in the real world

Imagine a frequent flyer with United Airlines, arriving at the airport for her fifth flight this month. She’s ready to self-check-in, but there’s a problem. The device can’t identify her frequent flyer number. She has no choice but to approach the service desk and wait in line for 20 minutes to get assistance from an airline rep. The problem is solved, but she didn’t get the seat allocation she wanted and there’s no time to grab a cup of coffee before the flight.

You could count up to six friction points in this scenario. That’s six ways to make a customer miserable – in just one touchpoint event.

These kinds of frictions do absolutely nothing good for a brand. They are not a positive experience, or an opportunity for connection. They don’t strengthen the customer’s sense of ease, comfort, or security. And they certainly don’t stir the feelings you want your subscribers to feel.

The importance of micro-moments

As the wise Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A subscription is a collection of micro-moments shared between the customer and the brand. And each micro-moment holds the potential to be full of friction or frictionless.

Have you ever tried to shop in a store when a loud alarm won’t stop ringing? Or when the salesperson is rude or inattentive? People need to feel comfortable in order to consume. If there is discomfort or friction, customers won’t develop the sense of commitment necessary to carry through a transaction or stay with it for the long run.

Next-gen subscription services that truly stand out are those that feel good to customers. This could be because the brand accurately recommends a product that they know a particular customer would love. Or perhaps the company offers a wide range of product options to choose from, making customers feel pampered and content. Or a personalized bundle that is just perfect for the customer’s usage behavior and budget.

Good customer feelings translate directly to a consistent stream of growing revenue. For CROs, the most important thing is not just how the customer consumes the subscription; it’s how the subscription makes the customer feel about their consumption.

MarketONE: frictionless plus

Reducing and eliminating friction takes much more than subscription management. Solutions and services for managing the technical side of subscriptions are abundant in the marketplace. At Vindicia, we do something different: our platform caters to the experience, to the micro-moments, and to the feeling a subscription creates for its customers.

The biggest advantage of MarketONE, Vindicia’s next-gen subscription platform, is its ability to create memorable, connected, valuable and frictionless experiences, in several ways:

  • Subscription intelligence: Our subscription data platform learns user behavioral patterns and offers deep insights, helping brands develop strategies to boost customer sentiment and growth.
  • Vindicia Connect: The identity management component supports personalization and optimization of the subscription journey, enhancing the micro-moments for each subscriber.
  • Vindicia Bundle: With Bundle, brands can innovate with bundling models and customize bundles to offer maximum value and convenience to individual customers.

And as a cloud-based SaaS platform, MarketONE ensures all these powerful functions work together in a centralized, reliable, and frictionless infrastructure.

The experience is what counts

No one wants to be a part of a service that makes life harder. If the brand experience doesn’t gel for the customer, it simply won’t “stick.” This goes way beyond mere inconvenience. Customers today expect subscriptions to add meaning and comfort to their lives, in one form or another. When a customer enjoys a valuable experience with a product or brand, this means something of fundamental importance to them. And this should be the marketer’s starting point for every micro-moment in the subscription relationship.

If an interaction is not easy, personalized, smooth and does not live up to (or beyond) its promise, it has no place in the market today. That is the raw truth about friction.

About Author

Jack Bullock

Jack Bullock

Jack brings 25 years of sales and sales management experience to Vindicia. Prior to joining Vindicia, he was senior vice president of digital commerce sales for Pitney Bowes, where his responsibilities included overall management of the global sales organization. Jack has extensive experience in enterprise software, including senior management positions with Infor and Vitria. Jack began his career at Oracle and has also held sales and sales management positions at Forte Software. Jack holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Colorado and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University.