Reduce the pain of switching to gain more customers

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One of the best things to come out of the 2015 WWDC keynote from a marketing perspective wasn’t Apple’s streaming music service. It wasn’t new Apple Watch functionality, or any of the dozens of other features.

What caught my eye was Apple’s announcement of an Android app… to help you switch to an iPhone:


“Just download the Move to iOS app to wirelessly switch from your Android device to your new iOS device. It securely transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books. And it will help you rebuild your app library, too. Any free apps you used — like Facebook and Twitter — are suggested for download from the App Store. And your paid apps are added to your iTunes Wish List.”

Think about this for a moment. Apple has made a concierge to guide you through the process of switching away from a competing ecosystem by reducing as much friction as possible.

Now consider your own marketing. Do you have a service or a product explicitly built for the purposes of helping potential customers leave your competitors?

Software as above is an obvious candidate for a concierge service. Even physical goods can have this functionality, though. There’s a difference between publishing a video about important steps to take before replacing a refrigerator and doing it for the customer. The former reduces friction only a little; the latter reduces significantly more friction because the customer doesn’t have to do it. Apple’s Android app reduces the things the customer has to do.

If you understand the pain points customers encounter when switching from a competitor to you today, you have a roadmap for easing those pains. How can you reduce friction and mitigate inconvenience? How much can you do for your prospective customer on their behalf?

It’s equally important to interview your current customers and ask them why they haven’t switched to a competitor. What do you do right? If you find that only one or two tenuous threads are all that stand between you and a mad rush for the exits, shore up your products and services to be better, to reduce the reasons to switch in the first place.

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