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The power of positive friction

Have you ever found yourself in that heart-stopping moment when you accidentally added one too many zeros to a financial transaction? The panic sets in, but then you breathe a sigh of relief when you realise there's still a confirmation stage before the transaction goes through. Phew!

Or what about when you eagerly unbox your brand new speakers, ready to blast your favourite playlist, only to find out that you have to use your phone to measure the acoustics in the room first? It's a bit of an unexpected detour, but it actually reaffirms your decision to splurge a little more on those speakers.

If these situations sound familiar, then you've experienced what we call "positive friction."

Now, when we think of "friction" in the realm of customer experience, it usually has a negative connotation. We associate it with obstacles, delays, and frustrations that get in the way of a smooth and seamless journey. But here's the interesting part: there's a concept gaining traction called "positive friction" that challenges this perspective.

Positive friction recognises that not all friction is bad. In fact, when used strategically, it can enhance the customer experience, foster deeper engagement, and build confidence. In this blog post, we're diving into the idea of positive friction and how it can completely revolutionize customer interactions, leaving a lasting impact and driving business success.

So, what exactly is positive friction? It refers to those intentional, controlled points of interaction or hurdles strategically placed in the customer journey. Unlike traditional friction which just frustrates us, positive friction serves a purpose and adds value to the overall experience. It's deliberately designed to momentarily slow down or challenge customers, leading to more thoughtful and engaged interactions. And the ultimate goal? To build stronger customer relationships, increase satisfaction, and drive loyalty.

Let's talk about the benefits of positive friction. First up, enhanced engagement. When we introduce positive friction, we encourage customers to actively participate in their journey. By prompting them to think, make choices, or provide feedback, we create opportunities for deeper engagement and a sense of personal investment.

But it doesn't stop there. Positive friction also gives us the chance to create memorable experiences. When customers come across those unexpected challenges or surprises, it breaks the monotony of a predictable experience. These moments stick with them, creating a lasting impression that leads to positive word-of-mouth and increased brand recognition.

And guess what? Positive friction can actually help customers make better decisions. When we strategically place those friction points, it allows them to carefully consider their choices. By engaging in a thoughtful decision-making process, they're more likely to make informed choices that align with their needs and preferences.

Now, here's another exciting aspect: positive friction can be a game-changer when it comes to differentiation and innovation. In a crowded market, embracing unique friction points sets us apart from our competitors. It shows our commitment to providing value and innovation, giving customers a reason to choose us over the rest.

And let's not forget about trust and confidence. Sometimes, a little artificial wait can build trust, especially in situations like taking out a large loan. Sure, we could confirm acceptance and release the funds within seconds, but choosing to wait a few hours reassures customers that the necessary due diligence is in place. It's all about instilling that confidence in our process.

Lastly, its use adds a sense of credibility and validation. Customers want to feel like they're getting access to the best deals on the market. So, when there's a short wait before results are provided, it creates a sense that thorough research has been done. We've all experienced that spinning wheel while waiting for holiday search results, right?


In conclusion, positive friction represents a paradigm shift in customer experience. It challenges the notion that all forms of friction are harmful. By strategically introducing well-placed obstacles or points of interaction, businesses can elevate customer engagement, foster meaningful relationships, and differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape.

Embracing positive friction requires a deep understanding of customer's needs and preferences, as well as a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences. So, the next time you think about friction in customer interactions, consider its positive potential and unleash the power of positive friction to create unforgettable experiences.

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