Graeme Newell


Sometimes persuading others to take better care of themselves can be a tough task. The problem is that many of the activities that are good for us also require suffering, for example: injections, nutrition, saving, exercise, education. This leads to half-hearted commitments where that good habit will most likely be abandoned if even the slightest difficulty is encountered.

Public health experts have gotten wise to this and they’re now assigning every interaction a “customer friction” index number. Every possible customer touchpoint is evaluated and optimized to make it EFFORTLESS to say yes, and to eliminate even slight impediments.

This new discipline brings to mind an old sales technique called “the assumptive close.” Using this technique, you don’t ask the person if they’d like to adopt the new healthy habit. Instead, you move forward as if they’ve already made the smart decision to do it.

Parents have been using this technique for generations. You don’t ask a three-year-old if she’d like to go to bed. Instead, you ask her if she’d like her bedtime story to be about bears or dolphins.

And for grownups, you don’t ask an employee if he’d like to work out at the company gym. Instead you ask him if he’d like his workout time to be in the morning or the evening. If he doesn’t want to join the program, he can still say no, but the default answer is yes. He’s going to need to actively stop it to bow out.

How easy is it for your team to do the right thing? Is the process of filling out time cards effortless or tedious? Is it easy or difficult for employees to clean up after themselves in the break room? Have you carefully designed customer and employee experiences that require less effort to do the right thing?