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Changing Friction to Deliver a Better Customer Experience

Shep Hyken interviews Roger Dooley. They discuss his new book, Friction: The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage, and how it applies to the customer experience.

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The Interview with Roger Dooley:

  • Friction is “any unnecessary expenditure of effort to accomplish a task.” This effort can include both time and money and affects both customers and employees. Not eliminating friction can cost you the loyalty of both your customers and your employees alike.
  • Businesses need to develop a “friction-aware culture.” Once you’re aware, not only will you see friction everywhere, but you can start to fix it. A smoother CX results in happier customers, higher sales, and a more productive and engaged team.
  • Trust and friction work in direct opposition to one another. Sometimes we will put up with extra friction to trust in security (i.e., a safety deposit box). But there is often a mismatch between trust and friction, such as complicated online security measures that only frustrate the customer. For your customers to trust you, you must demonstrate that you trust them.
  • Sometimes adding friction can have beneficial results. For instance, moving a candy dish just a few feet further can help someone change their diet. Alternatively, adding a high-friction option results in consumers choosing the low-friction option.
  • Friction and human behavior are linked. Changing friction (usually reducing it) allows you to steer human behavior. It is rare to see positive results from adding friction; if you do add friction, it can’t be too much or you will see adverse effects. There must be a balance.
  • Opportunities can be greater for small businesses because they are less likely to have internal friction and can, therefore, be more creative.
  • It is crucial for executives and organization leaders to observe their customers, rather than making disconnected assumptions about what’s working and what isn’t. Observation allows you to see where friction exists for your customers so that you can make changes where necessary.


“Wasting your customers’ time and effort will cost you their loyalty.” – Roger Dooley

“Friction changes human behavior. If you want to steer that behavior, you can change friction.” – Roger Dooley

“Friction changes behavior whether it is in a customer experience, an employee experience, or your daily life. By changing friction—usually by eliminating it—you can get great positive outcomes.” – Roger Dooley


Roger Dooley is an author and international keynote speaker. He founded Dooley Direct, a consultancy, and co-founded College Confidential, the leading college-bound website.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. How can technology help my customer service?
  2. How do I hire the right people?
  3. How do I train my employees?
  4. How do I empower my employees?
  5. How can I make my customers happy?


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