If you want to reduce friction, start by giving clarity

Sleeping at the airport for two days

Schein’s research on helping professions reminds us that not everyone who asks for help is actually seeking it, but help may be a convenient word for whatever is being sought.

Sometimes the person already defined the problem and worked out a solution, but still wants confirmation and affirmation.

Businesses ignore this fundamental human need on a daily basis.

In fact, one of the most common complaints on customer review sites is a lack of confirmation in some form. Which is sad for a few reasons.

First of all, when customers don’t get confirmation immediately, they assume something’s gone wrong. They make a giant leap to global negativity. And before they even know it, they’re exhausted from fighting back all the worst case scenarios in their head. Not a positive first impression.

The other issue is, confirmation communications are not only easy and simple to automate, but they’re also missed opportunities to express gratitude, provide great customer service, educate customers, reinforce your brand message and even do something memorable while the customer is already paying attention.

During my stint as brand manager at a travel startup, our product team asked me to record educational videos about specific flight disruption scenarios. Everything from delays, cancellations, denied boarding and lost luggage. That way, when a disrupted passenger was stuck at the airport with the hangries, filing a claim with the airlines, we could include one of my videos in their confirmation email.

According to our focus groups, these videos not only empowered customers take action on their air passenger rights, but made them feel less alone in their struggle. And even laugh a little.

Which is not an insignificant achievement for someone who has been sleeping at the airport for two days.

Lesson learned, most people want affirmation, not information.

If you want to reduce friction, start by giving clarity.

How are you taking risks to serve the customer better?

Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. CEO/Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.