As an Oregon native, there are few brands I'll go to bat for more than Dutch Bros Coffee. They're innovative, quirky, and serve up some of the best cold brew west (and now east) of the Mississippi.
However, the Dutch Bros stand closest to the house I grew up in has one major, glaring, friction creating issue that has deterred me from doing business with them.
Stationed a mere ten feet from 82nd avenue in Clackamas, OR, this Dutch Bros stand consistently creates a traffic nightmare for anyone driving southbound. As you turn onto the side street that runs next to the stand, before turning into the parking lot where the stand sits, you'll almost always be met with someone's tail lights because the line has backed up out of the parking lot and into the street. A few times, I've seen cars backed up onto 82nd avenue. It's annoying, if not dangerous.
The craziest part? Directly behind and connected to the drive-thru of the Dutch stand is a ginormous gravel parking lot with room for dozens of cars. It's where the employees park, which means at most there are 6 cars filling up a small corner of the lot. One day I asked the barista why they don't move the line from the street into the empty parking lot. Her reply: "That seems like a lot of work."
Some people may be willing to fight through the friction of parking on a busy street, turning their flashers on, and hoping they don't get hit for a Caramelizer. Me? I'm hitting one of the four Starbucks I pass on my way to that Dutch stand instead.
Whether we own a business and our aim is to attract customers, or we're new to a place and trying to make friends, our goal should be to eliminate friction as much as possible. Make it as easy as possible for people to engage with your or your product.
Want to grab food with someone new, but you're a picky eater? Suggest three places and let them pick one. Have a policy in place for your business that you can't defend? Get rid of it.
When we create friction or refuse to eliminate it, we are saying "We value policies over people." Look for things in your life that make it hard for people to enjoy spending time with you or engaging with your business. Then eliminate that friction.
Ask your closest friends what the hardest part of being your friend is. Then make a small step to eliminate that point of friction.
What rule or policy do you follow simply because you always have?
"Fighting friction isn't about winning in the short term, it's about investing in the long term." - Jesse Cole, Owner, Savannah Bananas