Naomi Oikonomou – Events, Content & Community Lead·4 July 2023
For many it is more instinctual to search for fuel to draw people in. This is mainly because we relate friction to slowing down, and fuel to powering you forward. But what if you’ve been looking at the two elements from the wrong perspective?
Rather than trying to entice customers to where you feel most comfortable serving them, the fuel versus friction theory looks at identifying what blocks the essential interactions needed to complete a transaction. So, in the battle to successfully innovate, why is establishing your points of friction more important than generating fuel?
In the most basic sense friction is more important than fuel for innovation because fuel is too complex, especially if you are trying to use it to reduce your rate of failure or to build on any element of success. This is because fuel is harder to study and quantify; what’s more than enough for one person won’t nearly be enough for another. Friction on the other hand can be easily studied and recorded in order to reveal opportunities to leverage desired behaviours. And this is where a certain level of emotional intelligence is needed. A core component of innovation is the ability to be able to see things from the perspective of other people.
Most businesses focus so heavily on how to move themselves forward; they often do not realise they’re driving the gap between themselves and those they serve, making themselves less accessible.
No! Away from the sales cycle we can also transfer the idea of prioritising friction within both our professional and even personal lives.
Many of us as team members are people pleasers and so can feel hit quite hard if an idea at work is immediately shot down. But imagine if rather than retreating on those ideas you feel quite passionately about, you instead sort to understand why they weren’t possible to implement, now. Use what was stopping the progress of your idea to evolve it.
Fuel is often seen as the easy win with many businesses instantly resorting to incentivising customers with lower prices or freebies, when they see a dip in the demand for their products and services. Something many veterinary clinics having already done, leaving themselves little to no profit margin.
The truth is, although some people will have researched a product quite intensively before they choose to make a purchase, maybe even enjoying the process, most people don’t actually adopt new ideas very easily. Finding these points of friction when it comes to your products and services, will better help you to counteract uncertainties and even create content to influence and tap into a wider, buying audience.
If you can find out why people don’t bother you can create innovative ways to counteract their uncertainty when it comes to moving them forward. In the words of Stephen Shapiro:
“Laziness is the father of innovation!”
Even in the early days of PetsApp it was clear that what we had was both an affordable and high quality offering. However, we often came across one key blocker: Time poverty!
When we presented PetsApp to vets, nearly all liked the product and its features and agreed they needed it in order to work more efficiently and gain back time for themselves and their teams, but they simply did not have the time to begin with so that they could start using us and therefore felt they couldn't move forward with onboarding the app. The answer? Support!
As we began talking to vets in the community about all our features and services we soon realised that there was a lack of high value, easily consumed educational content, with topics tailored specifically for our community and in particular their need for convenient solutions to help them tackle team burn out, low staff retention, increasing ROI and insanely high call rates. They were also having to be everything from Marketing Manager to Receptionist as well as Surgeon and GP. Taking all these pain points on board we set about reducing the friction by creating:
1) A webinar and podcast series to create easily digestible learning blocks covering everything from how PetsApp worked to guides on business development led by key opinion leaders in veterinary business and medicine.
2) A ‘find a vet’ page, which allows vets to claim their free page on our directory in order to boost their own online rankings and generate new appointment requests and reviews, without having to lift a finger.
3) A users group for additional community support from like minded professionals in veterinary using PetsApp; with access to our Private Group Page and events.
Ultimately as a Veterinary clinic remember you are offering very high quality touch points in the pet care journey. And as a rule most pet owners love and trust their local veterinary clinic, but going to the vets is always going to be a high cost and inconvenient touch point for them.
Even if you truly feel you’re an affordable practice, your services (as they should be) are still going to be a relatively expensive because genuine, good quality medical care will always come at a high price point; we've little say in that other than to make sure that the customer sees that every penny was well spent.
To make their way to your bricks and mortar clinic, a pet owner will have likely had to drop everything, possibly loading kids into the car as well as a sick pet, coordinated taking last minute time off work, whilst navigating offline interaction such as calling a long list of emergency vets in a stress induced state of pure chaos. Then once they’ve made their way to you they need to make sure they’re listening and be prepared to take in a large amount of information in a very quick space of time so they can then continue to maintain the care of their sick, but recovering pet once back home. It is within this space that we can move to reduce some of the pet owner’s friction points by making the services offered a little more convenient and easier to access, which in itself will also fuel their compliance.
PetsApp in its entirety has been tailored to combat every one of these frictions; from digital payments and requests to 2 way SMS chat, to its online vet directory and emergency appointment requests and even reminders and wellness plans. Counteracting those points of friction we fuel your customer's rate of satisfaction and compliance.
What blocker's are you facing in clinic?
To learn more on this topic and discover ways in which PetsApp can help schedule a call with a member of the pack today.
Leading on all things Events, Community & Content, Naomi is an experienced marketer within both veterinary and pet care, particularly across the UK, APAC & US markets. Previously working on campaigns and contracts for the likes of Purina, Ceva Animal Health and PetMedix.