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72. Friction – What It Is And How To Reduce It, with Roger Dooley

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Roger Dooley is here to talk about his new book Friction. Roger is the founder of the Neuromarketing Science website, host of the Brainfluence podcast, a Forbes contributor, and the author of Friction, Brainfluence, and The Persuasion Slide. FRICTION―The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage is about making customer’s lives easier by removing friction. Roger is the perfect guest for me to have on this show because neuromarketing and behavioral economics are similar in many ways, and throughout the book Roger gives examples and shares concepts of behavioral economics: including relativity, nudges, framing and more. It’s a great book, and a perfect interview topic for this show. If you’re a regular listener, you’ve heard me talk about Richard Thaler (the Nobel Prize winner and co-author of Nudge). Here is his review of Friction. “What do Amazon, Apple Google and Netflix have in common? They made life easier for their consumers by removing what Dooley calls friction. Reading this book will arm any manager with a mental can of WD-40.”

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Show Notes:

  • [04:08] The book Friction intentionally has a slightly gritty cover to convey a sense of friction. 
  • [05:35] Roger began his career as an engineer, but he was always interested in psychology and advertising.
  • [06:03] When he was about 30, he was in charge of strategic planning for a Fortune 1000 company. This is also the time he chose the bailout and become an entrepreneur.
  • [06:14] He co-founded a catalog marketing company at the very early days of home computers. Over the years, his businesses have evolved and become more digital oriented.
  • [06:45] About 15 years ago, Roger noticed neuroscience and marketing beginning to come together. That’s when he started his website about neuroscience marketing. He now has over 1100 blog posts on the topic.
  • [07:48] Books, his podcast, and his website give Roger the opportunity to explore how neuroscience and marketing come together.
  • [09:20] There has been a recent increase in business interest in behavioral science. Even Neilson has about 20 neuroscientists on board. 
  • [12:50] 95% of the time businesses have too much friction in their processes. 
  • [13:08] An example of when adding friction helps is a retirement plan that requires a form instead of a phone call for withdrawals. 
  • [13:50] Amazon reduced friction with one-click ordering. They actually patented it. Steve Jobs paid Amazon $1 million to use one-click in iTunes. 
  • [16:19] Friction is any unnecessary effort required to complete a task.
  • [22:05] Total cost, time, and effort need to be looked at when creating ways to reduce risk. Many burdens are for stuff that isn’t important. 
  • [23:20] Where there is high trust, there is low friction. 
  • [24:08] Expense reporting can create extra paperwork. Some processes can have unintended consequences and waste time and effort. 
  • [27:40] Think how things can be made easier and how many people will be affected. 
  • [29:20] A more difficult form can be a screen. This is a time when more friction may be better. 
  • [31:15] To increase phone leads, eliminating the web form didn’t work, instead the form had to made longer and less friendly to increase phone leads. 
  • [32:25] BYAF (but you are free) technique. Letting someone know they are free not to do something relieves the pressure and helps them comply with the request. 
  • [34:56] Buffer took all of the friction out of scheduling social sharing. They even used to have curated content. 
  • [38:09] Never say “actually” when answering a support question, because it seems to correct the person.
  • [40:36] Loyal customers are more valuable than new customers. What drives loyalty is low effort experiences. High effort experience doesn’t inspire loyalty. 
  • [44:23] Eliminating processes can also be an option. To board a cruise ship people had to go through a check-in process and fill out a health form. This useless process was eliminated. 
  • [48:38] Open your eyes and look for things that take longer than they should. Is there something you can do to reduce the effort your customer has to take to do business with you?
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