There is a lot of talk about removing friction for your customers during the on-boarding a customers particularly for digital service. In short this means ensuring the customer has to go through the minimum number of steps to sign up or buy your service. Amazon pioneered this with 1-click purchase.

The challenge is that at the moment of truth you want as many customers to sign up as possible however you also want to capture as much information or data for the customer to enhance your understanding an ultimately their experience.

GrabOne had a good strategy for this, they minimised the customer friction but built up their customer knowledge over time. Periodically they would ask a customer for additional information, just one question at a time. I.e. male or female, date or month of birth, as it was a simple question and as easy to give the answer than click no they managed to enhance their customer understanding without too much friction and customer drop off

On the other hand, It is amazing how hard some companies make this even the best international digital companies. I recently had an experience with Paypal

  • I needed to pay for an online service with Paypal.
  • Approximately ten years ago I signed up to Paypal when I lived in the UK
  • Changing my account between the NZ and UK was harder than it needed to be.
  • The FAQ said that you can’t change countries within Paypal, and I should set up a new account in the new country.
  • What it didn’t tell me that I couldn’t use the same email address
  • Therefore, I had to cancel the account in the UK and open a NZ account. There were six steps to closing the account; I was asked three times if I am sure that I wanted to close it and the consequence of this (they tried to keep me with FUD: creating fear uncertainty and doubt.  Now I suppose I could have hit the cancel account button by accident (Ii reality I couldn’t as it was buried in a submenu). But after I had said yes the first time to ‘I want to cancel’ why did they need to ask me twice more?

Key Takeaways

  • While there is a desire to grow your data and understanding for your customers capturing the customers is the most important thing as you can always go back and get more details later
  • Minimizing the friction, and therefore loss of customers has to be a priority over getting additional information. 20 customers with basic information is worth more than five customers with detailed information.
  • Customers are smarter than you think – asking them three times if they really want to leave will just annoy them (and cause them to write a blog post!)


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