Jeffrey Eisenberg and Dewey Jenkins don’t know each other but each of them taught me the importance of removing the friction.
Dewey sings it to every person in his company, “Make it easy for customers to do business with us.” And they do. Inventing new ways to “make it easier” is the job of every person in every department.
Jeffrey Eisenberg calls this “removing the friction in the buying process”.
Tesla is a good example.
I am convinced that a number of other companies are building electric vehicles that are as good – or better – than Tesla, but Tesla remains the big name with the big stock price. At the time of this writing, Tesla is selling for $181 a share while Volkswagen is at $18, Subaru is at $8, Ford is at $13, Audi is at $19, Mercedes is at $20, BMW is at $35, and Rivian is at $15.
Tesla has removed the friction from the buying process.
Buying a car from Tesla is as easy as buying a book from Amazon. And I don’t mean that figuratively. I mean that literally. People who order a car from Tesla look up from their computer screen with a puzzled look on their face and ask, “Did I just buy a new car?” And then they look back at their computer screen and nod their head up-and-down slowly as they say, “Yes, I just bought a new car.”
Go ahead and try it. It will only cost you $500.
Princess Pennie ordered a Tesla a couple of months ago and was startled by how easy it was. Two weeks later, she decided she wanted to add the optional third row of seating. I watched her add that third row in less than 30 seconds with just two clicks. Tesla immediately displayed her new delivery date, and she closed her laptop. Done.
Meanwhile, our younger son spent an entire day at the Volkswagen dealer trying to order an electric SUV. He persevered for 8 grueling hours, but he got it done and the car soon arrived. He loves that vehicle, and rightfully so, but he says he would rather endure a tax audit, a root canal, and a prostate exam than go through the process of buying a Volkswagen again.
Volkswagen has not yet figured out how to remove the friction.
1-800-GOT-JUNK is a company entirely committed to removing the friction. Led by its founder, Brian Scudamore, “Making it easier for the customer” is an ongoing source of enthusiastic discussion at every level in that company.
Meanwhile, Google is introducing all kinds of new friction. Google “Best Electric Vehicles” and you will see pages of ads from manufacturers who want to sell you a car. Enter a different, more specific phrase and you’ll get that same list. In fact, any query that includes the word “electric” followed by any synonym for “car” will get you that list of ads.
Google got big by putting the customer ahead of the advertiser. They’re clearly not doing that anymore, so I’ve decided to give Bing a chance. I suspect there might be millions of other people slowly coming to that same conclusion right now.
But even though I am profoundly frustrated with Google, I remain encouraged that Dewey and Jeffrey and Brian Scudamore and the customer service team at Tesla remain committed to removing the friction at every point of contact, making it ever-increasingly easy for customers to do business with them.
To remove the friction is to remove the customer’s frustration.
I’m just an ad writer, so I’m not particularly good at refining the internal processes of running a business, but I highly admire those people who know how to do it.
How about you? Can you think of 10 tiny-little-things that would each make it a-little-bit-easier for customers to do business with you? Think of those 10 things as Exponential Little Bits; they don’t just add up, they multiply and go exponential.
And when you have implemented those 10 things, think of 10 more, and then implement those.
Rinse and repeat.
Keep it up and you’ll become the Tesla of your business category.
Roy H. Williams
PS: After writing this memo, I went to Bing for the first time and entered “Best Electric Cars.” The top two listings were the answers to my question, both from reputable sources. https://www.forbes.com/wheels/best/electric-cars
It’s possible that Bing will get greedy and lazy at some point in the future and lose their customer focus, but for now, they are my huckleberry. (“A penny for whoever will unload my supplies,” said the man with the wagon. “I’m your huckleberry,” replied a young man on the street.)