User Friction is Costing You Leads, Here’s How to Fix It

User friction happens when people are unable to complete a desired action on your site.

For example, when a visitor who wants to schedule an appointment can’t figure out where to do so.

But user friction is not navigation problems alone. 

It includes anything from slow-loading pages to intrusive pop-ups to complicated forms and even broken pages.

Broken and confusing navigation will frustrate visitors and drive them to competitors whose sites are more straightforward to navigate. And 88% of those people who leave after a bad user experience (UX) may never come back.

Anything that stops people from achieving their goals on your site will cost you leads.

The best way to reduce friction and improve your site’s UX (and conversion rates) is to focus on helping visitors find what they need quickly

When you place important links where users can easily find them, optimize your page load time, and minimize other barriers that keep people from taking action, you increase your chances of getting more inquiries and bookings. 

But it all starts with knowing what to look for and fix. 

That’s what we cover in this guide — a detailed breakdown of the different types of UX friction, along with common examples of each and how to fix them.

3 types of user friction that make people leave your HVAC site

There are three types of user experience friction to look out for to improve your site’s UX and conversion rates:

  • Interaction friction: UX or UI barriers that frustrate users  and disrupt conversions
  • Cognitive friction: mental blockers that keep people from taking action
  • Emotional friction: feelings of uncertainty users have while on your site
The Hierarchy of Friction

Let’s go over each one in detail.

1. Interaction friction

Interaction friction are interface barriers that hinder a smooth user experience and make visitors leave without taking a desired action. 

For example, slow page load times, small hard to click buttons, and dense text are interface barriers.

This type of friction can be more problematic for mobile users, who make up nearly 56% of all website traffic

Say a visitor tries to book an appointment on your website using their mobile device but finds some form fields too small to tap on and fill accurately.

Book an Appointment Mobile Form

This is likely to cause frustration and abandon the process, which means lost leads and conversions for your HVAC business.

2. Cognitive friction 

Cognitive friction refers to how much mental effort visitors put into understanding the info on your site. 

For example, complex HVAC terms, disorganized menu items, and ambiguous icons make visitors put a lot of effort into knowing the next step to take. This type of friction hurts conversion rates, especially on your most important pages. 

Say a prospect visits your HVAC services page and encounters highly technical language. They’ll struggle to understand the value you offer and, therefore, may not book your services. 

Avoid Technical Jargon

3. Emotional friction 

Emotional friction refers to feelings of uncertainty users have that keep them from completing a specific action on your site. 

For example, if a prospect visits your HVAC site to schedule an appointment but can’t find customer reviews or critical info they need to take action, such as your services packages and pricing, they’ll likely hesitate to take the next step. 

10 user friction examples and how to fix them 

To help you identify user friction on your site, we provided examples for each type, along with tips and tools to fix them. 

3 interaction UX friction examples and how to fix them

1. Prospects find the appointment scheduling process on your site lengthy

The following can frustrate your customers when they try to schedule an HVAC service on your site:

  • Complex forms that ask for irrelevant details
  • Forms to nowhere (i.e. don’t get processed or responded to quickly)
  • Too many steps in the scheduling process
  • Not knowing which buttons, links, and fields to click on

How to reduce this friction 

Put clear and noticeable CTA buttons on your most important pages

For example, a “Book an Appointment” button in the hero and footer section of your home page helps visitors know exactly what to do next.

Happy Hiller uses a sticky header that appears on all pages. Visitors can click to schedule an appointment from any page, and without scrolling back and forth.

Make it Easy to Schedule Online Button

Also, make it easy for customers to select service types, dates, and times without confusion. We recommend adding drop-down menus for date and time selection to your appointment booking form like Skylake Heating & Air does.

Make It Easy to Schedule with Selections

This makes it easy for people to schedule an appointment without being overwhelmed with too many boxes.

You can also use ServicTitan’s schedule engine pop-up with an interactive carousel-like. 

What Can We Do Form Slide1

Each slide requests just one piece of information — which is super relevant to the customer’s request. 

For example, when you select a service (or “issue” as they call it), Happy Hiller asks for more specific details to recommend the right service for you.

What Can We Do Form Slide2

This approach helps people focus on answering one question at a time, instead of being overwhelmed with too many at once.

You’ll notice Happy Hiller uses both traditional form intake and the ServiceTitan modal that is directly integrated with their dispatch calendar.

2. Your site isn’t responsive on mobile devices 

Mobile devices generate at least 65% of website traffic worldwide. 

This means most of your ideal clients use mobile devices to access your site.

Imagine what happens when they’re greeted with a non-responsive design, where the text and images are too small to read comfortably, and the layout doesn’t adapt to your screen size. 

They’ll have to zoom in to read the tiny text and try to click on the navigation links — which are close together and hard to tap accurately. 

Website Mobile Friendly

To keep this from happening, you should adopt a mobile-first strategy while ideating and designing your site. 

How to make your site mobile-friendly 

Use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or a paid tool like BrowserStack to regularly test your site on mobile and browsers to see if its performance and appearance are consistent. 

For example, type your web page’s URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly test search box and click “Test URL.”

Page Speed Insights for Mobile Website

The test results will tell you whether or not a webpage is easy to use on mobile.

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly (or you just want to improve it), start with the layout — it’s the first thing people see when they land. 

For example, place information on your home page in a logical sequence to give users the most important things they need to make a decision:

  • What services you offer
  • Benefits of services, brands you service
  • Specific areas you serve
  • Who you are
  • How to contact you
  • What customers are saying about you
  • FAQs

Then make the site adapt to various screen sizes and orientations, so people using mobile and desktop can have the same seamless experience — like our web design team did with Quick Fix Air Repair.

Quick- Fix Hero Area

Navigation is another important aspect you should prioritize to make your site mobile-friendly. 

Place a mobile-friendly hamburger menu in an easily recognizable location, such as the top-left or top-right corner of the screen, like we did for Quick Fix Air Repair.

Mobile Hamburger Menu

Those three horizontal lines save space on mobile and users can easily click to see the different sections of your site they can access. 

Also, use legible font sizes and styles.

They ensure that visitors can easily read and comprehend the content on your site, especially on smaller screens.

We ensured there was sufficient contrast between text and background colors on Quick Fix Air Repair’s web pages. 

Easily Read Content On a Site

This way, visitors can read and find what they need easily.

Need help optimizing your
site for mobile?

3. Visitors cannot easily find contact information for inquiries or support

People who want to contact you are likely in the later stages of the “purchase stage” of the buying journey. 

They’ve done their research and possibly decided on your HVAC company to be their service provider. However, they want to talk to you before (or after) making the final decision.

When prospects are unable to easily contact you, they’ll become frustrated and leave your site without converting.

These potential customers seek alternative HVAC service providers who offer easy and straightforward ways to get information and support their preferred method of contact to inquire about service or book an appointment. 

How to reduce this friction

Place your contact information in a prominent location on your website, such as the header or footer. 

Include details like a phone number, email address, and available hours to set expectations. 

Also hyperlink the text so visitors can click to call your company right away. This ensures that visitors can quickly access this information from any page.

Richmond’s Air Heating and Air Conditioning does this very well. 

The team uses a sticky header to ensure visitors know how to reach them regardless of where they are on the site.

Sticky Header

Also, create a dedicated “Contact Us” page with all your contact details, including phone numbers, email addresses, and a contact form.

Dedicated Contact Page

Then, use clear and compelling call-to-action buttons that lead visitors to your contact page or encourage them to get in touch.

For example, use buttons with text like “Contact Us” or “Get a Quote” in the body copy of your web pages.

Tip! Consider implementing a live chat option on your site. This way, you satisfy visitors who have quick questions or prefer immediate assistance.

If your HVAC business is active on social media, include links to your social profiles; some visitors may prefer reaching out through social media channels.

Important! Whatever methods of communication you provide to your customers, be absolutely sure you have an SOP and CSR or someone tending to those channels. There’s nothing less effective than unanswered emails, chats, phones, DM’s, etc.

3 cognitive UX friction examples and how to fix them

4. Your site’s content uses complex HVAC terms unfamiliar to most users

“BTU rating” 

“SEER rating”

“Condenser Unit” 

Say what?

What do these words mean?

What Does It Mean

These terms are industry jargon that may confuse your ideal audience — especially when you use them in your copy without explaining. 

As a result, a prospect will struggle to understand your value.

How to use language that resonates with potential customers 

Use everyday language that the average person can understand.

For example, instead of saying, “We install zoning systems,” you can say, “We set up customized temperature control to keep each room comfortable and don’t waste energy overheating or overcooling other areas.”

Use Everyday Language

This highlights the benefits of the services you provide rather than listing technical features that may not show prospects how they help.

If you must use technical terms, provide simple explanations or use layman’s terms alongside them. For example, “We offer advanced HEPA filters to improve indoor air quality, which means cleaner, fresher air in your home.”

A great trick here is to build a graphic or a table of all 

Tip! You can use a tool like Grammarly or ChatGPT to simplify your message without changing its meaning.

5. Users find your site’s layout and navigation cues confusing

People have certain expectations when they land on any website based on their past online experiences.

For example, when they see a shopping cart icon, they expect it to take them to a page where they can review and complete their purchase.

If clicking the icon takes users to an unexpected location, like the “About” page instead of the checkout page, they become confused and frustrated as the page’s content doesn’t match their expectations.

Similarly, when you leave confusing cues on your HVAC site (icons or text that are cryptic and don’t align with where users want to go next), you risk losing half of them.

How to reduce this friction 

Ensure your site’s navigation labels are straightforward and guide users to the specific services they want to learn more about.

For example, instead of using a general label like “Services,” use more specific labels like “Heating Services,” “Air Conditioning,” and “Ventilation Solutions.”

We did the same for Quick Fix Air Repair, based on their core service offering.

Skip Generic Labels

This way, visitors immediately know what to expect and where to click to further explore services

Also, place direct, clear calls-to-action (CTAs) for critical actions, like scheduling maintenance or requesting a quote. 

For example, in the hero section, we used two critical (actionable) CTAs: “Call Now” and “Schedule Service.”

Bad vs Good Cta

Don’t make people guess what’s going to happen when they click a CTA.

The hero section is the first part of a webpage that users see. 

From the hero section to the end of the homepage, you can easily tell the value Quick Fix Air Repair is offering to its customers – trustworthy, clean, professional, 24/7 hour AC repair & service.

Placing important CTAs reduces friction in the user journey. Visitors don’t have to search for essential actions; they are presented with them right from the start

And using “Call Now” and “Schedule Service” helps where users need prompt assistance or want to schedule maintenance quickly.

We also made Quick Fix Air Repair’s phone number clickable, so prospects can call the company directly from the home page.

Make Phone Number Clickable

If you want to use icons or imagery, use those that convey the nature of HVAC services. For example, recognizable symbols for heating, cooling, and ventilation can help users quickly identify and navigate to relevant content.

Happy Hiller uses an image of one of its technicians as well as related icons to emphasize why choosing their service is a great option.

Happy Miller Why to Hire

Hotjar Recordings also comes in handy here — you can see how users are interacting with specific elements on your most important pages.

Hotjar in Action

This recording shows you specific sections they spend more time on or skip, which will help you identify 

  • If people are struggling to understand how to interact with the elements on your pages
  • How quickly people can find critical info such as your contact details
  • Whether your quote request and appointment scheduling forms work
  • How quickly and easily visitors can find and use CTA and menu buttons

Alternatively, place a feedback widget on any page on your site to ask visitors about their experience as they interact with your site, so they can identify specific elements they like and dislike.

Need help improving your HVAC’s website design or UX?

6. Visitors are overwhelmed by too many service options and packages

Imagine you visit an HVAC company’s website hoping to quickly find information on their AC repair services and pricing. 

Instead, you find an extensive list of service options and packages, including air conditioner repair, maintenance, installation, duct cleaning, thermostat replacement, etc. 

And each service comes with its own package options and pricing. 

The excess options will likely overwhelm you, especially if there are no clear explanations on how to choose the most suitable option or a way to compare options on your own before deciding. 

The same overwhelming feeling happens when you present your ideal clients when there are too many options. 

How to reduce this friction 

Group similar services into categories to create a structured hierarchy. 

For example, you can have categories like “Maintenance Services,” “Installation and Replacement,” and “Repair Services.” Where services like Refrigerant Flushes & Replenishment and HVAC System Replacement are nested under “Maintenance Services”.

Aqua Plumbing & Air is an example of an HVAC company that does this well. 

The company uses a dropdown navigation menu where sub-level links are hidden until the user hovers over or clicks on a main menu item, revealing additional choices.

Dropdown Navigation Menu

This type of menu helps to organize and categorize these services neatly, making it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

And when they click on the service they want from the menu, visitors land on a page that breaks down what the company is offering for that particular service, 

Aqua Plumbing also adds a clear call-to-action (CTA) to these pages, encouraging visitors to contact its team. 

Service Page Example

To apply this,

  • Create dedicated pages for each service category or package. 
  • Provide detailed information about what each service includes, its benefits, and pricing, to help visitors make informed decisions.
  • Include a clear CTA on each service page, encouraging visitors to take the next step (request a quote, schedule an appointment, or contact you).

4 emotional UX friction examples and how to fix them

7. People find your HVAC site’s design and messaging inconsistent

Picture this: you visit an HVAC website to learn more about a specific service. 

At the top of the page, you notice a professional design with a blue and white color scheme. The text focuses on the company’s expertise in providing energy-efficient heating solutions, along with a 5% discount on all repairs.

However, as you continue scrolling down, you come across a bold green and orange banner that advertises an unrelated offer, “Flash sale: 50% off all cooling systems!”

Hvac Messaging Inconsistency

This sudden change in design and message is confusing, as it doesn’t align with the initial value proposition.

And this lack of consistency can make you doubt the company’s expertise and eventually leave without booking an appointment.

The same thing happens when potential customers experience a lack of consistency in your site’s design and messaging. It reduces your chances of gaining their trust and growing your revenue. 

But when you make it easy for visitors to understand how your service benefits them using the same language and design elements across different pages, you

How to fix inconsistent design and messaging

Start by thoroughly reviewing your website

If your HVAC company has a style guide that outlines the design elements and messaging standards to be used consistently throughout your site, we’ll need that. 

If you don’t have one already, consider creating one.

Use a web analytics tool like Google Analytics to get a comprehensive list of pages on your site.

Then go through every page, paying close attention to design elements (colors, fonts, layout, images) and messaging (tone, language, content, calls to action).

Check to see if your site’s visual elements and messaging match your brand identity, the approved fonts, colors, logos, and messaging, and appeal to visitors. 

8. There’s no social proof on your site to show visitors the quality of your service

Say a client is looking for an HVAC company within your service area, but they’re down to two options (your company and others) and can’t tell which to choose. 

What would make them more likely to choose you over a competitor?

Social proof — evidence that your company has successfully met the needs and expectations of previous clients.

Nearly nine out of ten customers rely on the recommendations of others who have used your HVAC services in the past. 

And when some of these reviews are published on your services pages, people are 3.5 times more likely to choose your company than if there aren’t any at all. 

That’s why you should include them on your most important pages to give visitors a solid reason to trust and choose you. 

How to add social proof to your HVAC site

  1. Display customer reviews

Ask customers to leave a review after each successful service using any of these methods:

  • Have your technicians request feedback as soon as the job is complete
  • Let customer service representatives check up on customers a week or two after a completed service and request reviews if they are satisfied
  • Add a direct link to your preferred review platform (Google My Business, Yelp, Angi, or Facebook) to your digital invoices

Pro Tip: Send a follow-up email after a service appointment thanking the customer for their business before requesting a review. 
In the email, ask them to add a few (high-resolution) images of the completed projects, as well as their own photos, to prove the authenticity of the review. The visual proof makes more than half of your clients more likely to buy from you.

Once you have these reviews, use them on your site in different ways. 

For example, Apollo Home has a dedicated page for customer reviews on its website that you can access from the homepage.

CTA for Review Page

Placing a snippet of the reviews with a call-to-action and asking people to read more is a great way to showcase their expertise as well as build customer trust. 

When you click on the link, it takes you to the dedicated page where Apollo Home displays its high ratings from Google.

This page also has a dropdown menu that lets prospects sort through reviews from popular platforms such as Angi, Google, and Facebook.

Sort Reviews

You can also sort the reviews by date to see how consistent the business has been in delivering exceptional service. 

What makes this strategy even more effective is that you can independently verify the authenticity of these reviews by clicking on the platform’s logo.

Verify Reviews

Allowing visitors to do this makes your business appear more credible, as people trust reviews from these platforms more than those manually published on your site (there’s really no way to verify those).

Plus when they click on the logo, it takes them directly to the review page where they can see pictures of the job done and view the profiles of the reviewers.

Highlight Reviews from Popular Platforms

Use review widgets from popular platforms like Google, Yelp, or Angie to show your customer reviews, especially those that highlight your strengths.

  1. Highlight relevant certifications and awards

Another way to show social proof is to highlight any relevant certifications, awards, or industry recognition that your HVAC company has received.

For example, Thermacon Service, an HVAC company based in Beaumont Texas, uses industry-recognized certifications to show its expertise in the industry.

Highlight Certifications

Highlighting certifications sets your HVAC company apart from competitors who may not have similar credentials. 

They show proof of your expertise, increasing your chances of building trust with clients who want to hire a reliable and qualified service provider.

Create a section on your site highlighting any certifications, awards, or industry recognition your HVAC company has received, and like Thermacon, include logos and descriptions to provide context.

Pro Tip: Always make sure that your ideal customer and audience know and understand you trust badges, otherwise they won’t have any impact. For example, consumers in Texas probably aren’t familiar with the NFIB or the ACCA brands or marks, which makes those carry very little weight for residential visitors. 

9. Visitors discover unexpected costs while scheduling appointments

You know how you’d feel when you scored what seemed like reasonably priced concert tickets on StubHub, only to discover that you have to pay an extra 50% of the ticket price at checkout?

Frustrated, right?

It’s the same way people feel when they try to book an appointment on a site and find out while checking out (or from the quote) that the service they selected costs more than the price initially stated. 

Even though you can’t always control the quote, the perceived lack of transparency will likely affect the way customers see your brand. 

How to build trust with customers using transparent pricing 

When providing quotes to your HVAC customers, break them down to show what they’re paying for, such as:

  • Parts
  • Labor
  • Any other foreseeable expenses

Let your customers know exactly what services they’ll receive and why they’re being charged for them.

For example, this quote breaks down specific costs associated with the services a customer requested.

Hvac Service Quote

The quote stands out because it provides a clear breakdown of all costs, including parts, labor, the service call fee, optional services, and taxes. This transparency allows the customer to understand where their money is going.

It also has terms and conditions to set expectations and build trust. 

Also, clearly outline your policies regarding refunds and returns in the FAQs of your website. 

Explain the refund process and what customers should expect if they aren’t satisfied with the service or need to return equipment. This kind of transparency helps you manage expectations and prevent misunderstandings.

But if you are unable to provide a direct answer, as customers have varying needs, ask customers to contact you like Heatmasters, a Chicago-based HVAC company, did on its FAQ page. 

FAQ Contact Us

10. People find more negative reviews than positives about your brand

Would you choose a company with 3-star ratings over those within your service area (but a little farther away) with glowing customer reviews and a 4.5+ rating? 

We’re willing to bet that you, like almost 90% of potential customers, will hesitate to book an appointment with a company that has negative online reviews. 

In contrast, positive reviews make 3 out of 4 customers trust a local business more — which is why it is important to pay attention to your online reputation. 

How to manage your online reputation  

Regularly monitor what’s being said about your business online. 

To do this, set up Google Alerts or use social media monitoring tools like Brandwatch.

The software lets you monitor social media, news sites, blogs, and forums to find out what people are saying about your brand.

Brandwatch in Action

Alternatively, track online reviews on platforms like Google Business Profile, Angi, or Yelp, depending on which platforms you use. 

Next, claim and optimize your business profiles on review sites, social media platforms, and business directories if you haven’t already. 

Ensure your information is accurate, including your business name, address, phone number, and website.

Also, respond to online reviews, both positive and negative. 

Thank customers for their positive feedback and address negative reviews professionally and empathetically. This shows you care about customer experiences and are committed to resolving any issues.

Most of all, prioritize providing excellent customer experiences, and positive reviews will follow. 

A good way to encourage this is to reward technicians whose work results in a 4.5+ star rating for your business. By recognizing and rewarding their efforts, you’re motivating them to do more quality work. 

This is a better way to encourage positive reviews and improve your online reputation, than pressuring customers or incentivizing them in a way that compromises the authenticity of their reviews.

Need help building trust with potential customers online?

It’s what we do! Let’s review and improve your online reputation

A speedy, mobile-responsive site is the first step to reducing UX friction 

The most important change to make to remove user friction and improve your site’s UX is to ensure your site is responsive and optimized for mobile. 

More than half of your site’s visitors typically use their mobile phones to access your site, so you want to be sure they have the best experience possible. 

This means using: 

  • Fonts and font sizes that are easy to read on mobile devices
  • A collapsible (hamburger) menu to save screen space
  • Image formats that are efficient for the web
  • Lazy loading for images below the fold
  • Clear, concise labels for menu items

There’s a lot more you can do to improve your site’s mobile (and desktop) UX for your audience. But it all starts with analyzing your existing web design to see what’s working well and what needs to be fixed. 

Need help improving your contractor website design and UX?

FAQs about User Friction

What does user friction mean?

User friction refers to difficulties people encounter on your HVAC site when trying to achieve their goals or complete tasks. 

These obstacles make it harder for users to find the info they need, request a quote, or book an appointment. As a result, users get frustrated and leave your site.

What causes user friction?

User friction is caused by various factors, including:
– Confusing navigation that makes it hard for users to find what they need
– Incomplete info about your HVAC services, pricing, or service areas
– Unclear CTAs that make users struggle to know what to do next
– Too many steps users have to go through to complete a task
– Inconsistent design elements or branding across pages
– Pages that take too long to load or have broken links
– Your site not functioning well on mobile devices

What is the hierarchy of user friction?

User friction is categorized into three levels:
– Emotional friction: negative feelings users have while on your site
– Cognitive friction: mental blockers that frustrate users on your site
– Interaction friction: physical difficulties users encounter on your site

How do you remove friction in UX?

To remove UX friction:
– Research your clients to identify their needs, preferences, and pain points
– Make sure your website is well-optimized for mobile devices
– Maintain a consistent design and layout throughout your HVAC site
– Ensure content is clear and concise, and avoid highly technical language
– Improve the search functionality to help users find information easily
– Reduce the steps required to fill out a form or book an appointment
– Encourage user feedback and use it to make continuous improvements
– Regularly test your design with real users to identify and address issues
– Experiment with different design elements to find what works best

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