I have posted a few times in the last week or so about reducing your customer’s friction (or anything that slows down or halts the customer’s interaction with your business or product). I’ve tried to make a strong case for reducing friction. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – not all friction is bad (cue the Dramatic Squirrel – which isn’t a squirrel at all, but I digress).
One example of good friction is called Restrictive Friction. Restrictive Friction acts like the bouncer outside of an exclusive club that helps keep out the riff raff. By not letting everyone in, you create an exclusive experience.
Restrictive Friction is what Ben McConnell brillantly describes when he blogs about a group of monks in Belgium that sell a very limited supply of beer that many go to great lengths to get. Restrcitive Friction is what Seth Godin mentions in a post about a time in college when the Dean tried to setup an advisory board and no one bothered to sign up. As soon as the Dean called it “The Group of 100”, it was full in a couple of days.
Restrictive Friction ican also found in the limited release of information about the movie Cloverfield, moms and seniors clamoring for a Wii and hearing Steve Jobs speak at MacWorld.
The fact that not everyone has their hand stamped and can come and go as they please may actually speed up the interaction between those that are already “in” and your company and service. Remember: strategically placing points of friction along the path for all can make for a more enticing journey for some (and it’s the “some” your after anyway).