Build a More Valuable App By Adding a Little Customer Friction

An unconventional method to increase the lifetime value of your customer base

Joe Procopio

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image by jannoon028

If you want real, valuable, revenue-generating customers, your app has to walk a perfectly balanced line between customer friction and data collection.

In other words, when you ask a customer to “sign up and get started,” your app needs to collect all the information you need to provide a great customer experience without the customer getting frustrated and abandoning the sign-up process altogether.

If you can find the right friction balance at the top of your customer funnel, you’ll fill that funnel with more valuable prospects.

And if you get really good at building digital products, you’ll maintain this balance in all aspects of user engagement throughout the entire customer lifecycle. You’ll foster deeper engagement, longer LTV, and ultimately, more revenue at lower CAC.

Or you can do what I did. Get sloppy. Get caught. And get hacked.

Be Careful What You Expose

In April, my app got hacked by a single bad actor, and it almost forced me to shut down my entire operation. The exposure came down to a flaw I left in the customer acquisition process, on purpose, in the name of making it easy to “sign up and get started.”

I’ve been building digital products for decades. So I already knew the tenet — balance customer friction and data collection. I just forgot about the corollary: If you don’t know anything about your customer, they’re not really your customer.

It’s tempting to go the completely friction-free route, especially during the acquisition process. Each additional click you force on the user results in an increasing percentage of prospects who become disengaged, then disillusioned, and then they bail on you.

So you have to ask yourself: What’s the minimum amount of information I need to collect before I create a customer?

My answer? An email address. And my answer was close, but oh, so far. Because I didn’t verify that email address. And once I let someone into my application without any sort of digital background…

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com