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How to Handle Friction

Frictionless Customer Experience

“Please put me back on hold. I want to keep listening to the music,” said nobody, ever – unless they were listening to the hold music at the Kansas City Foot and Ankle medical practice.  The owner of this four-office podiatry practice with seven doctors and 25 staff members, Dr. Mark Green, has always focused on creating a positive, unique and frictionless patient experience. He found a major friction point for new patients trying to make appointments was the initial phone call, when they often experienced longer than usual hold times.    Good news for Dr. Green! Not only was he correct in diagnosing the problem, but he also found a remedy: he hired Jeff Slutsky, a business expert known for his street fighter marketing tactics. About a year ago, Slutsky became the COO/CMO of the business and put his creative talent to work. Slutsky looked at the long hold issue and came up with a solution to create a frictionless customer experience.  

What can we do to ease the pain?

The ultimate solution would have been eliminating the hold, but that wasn’t feasible for first-time callers. So Slutsky asked, “What can we do to ease the pain?” (No pun intended.)  His answer was to create an on-hold experience that would make people say, “Please put me back on hold!” Instead of the typical, boring on-hold music, Slutsky asked the staff to create a list of their favorite songs about or relating to feet. The song list grew, and Slutsky put together a fun message acknowledging that “people hate to be put on hold.”

Following that, he introduced segments of the following songs: 

During the call, the patient can hit the “0” button and leave a voicemail. But many like to listen to the music. In between the song segments, Slutsky takes on the role of DJ and introduces the songs mixed in with marketing messages about foot and ankle clinics. If you want to experience Slutsky’s creativity, you can listen to the entire message by clicking here.  If you know of any friction points along your customer’s journey, you have two options: 1) Find a way to eliminate them, or 2) Find a way to make them more tolerable.  Slutsky has masterfully used option No. 2 to manage the wait time new patients experience. How do you handle the friction points in your business to provide a frictionless customer experience?  Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. Textexpander

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