So, how can you have a great online customer experience? Is there some untold Zen philosophy for this? Well, kind of. There are a number of factors to consider with the online customer experience which contribute to how positive or negative it might be. The issue here is, though, that some of the problems inherent with it aren’t entirely possible to abate to any real level, only soften a bit.
There are others that can be completely fixed with a little elbow grease, and then there are just some strategies for presentation and implementation that optimize a positive and effective online customer experience altogether. These all play together in one balanced, clean strategy. Alas, it’s not obvious at first.
So, let’s look at this strategy, in a series of sections and steps. Follow this, with a little modification for your specific scenario, and you’re guaranteed a phenomenal customer experience, barring unforeseen issues.
Customer Sign Up
Customer sign up usually only happens once, unless a customer has to redo an account due to some reason or other. However, it’s an important factor, and probably one of the more annoying steps on their end, so let’s talk about reducing the annoyance of this as much as possible.
First, how much information do you actually need from them? Do you need their mobile number for practical application? If not, don’t bother them with it. Some people do not have them, or will not give them to you either way. Just, avoid this. The same can be said for their mailing address, and other surplus information that just isn’t pertinent on the internet. If you must include these fields, for the love of all that is good, do not make them required.
Second, don’t use absurd rules for passwords. Don’t make them use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, and don’t make them include number(s). People need to have passwords they can remember, and many people can’t remember things with numbers or absurd capitalization intermittently peppered through them.
Third, if you must use a captcha, use one they can read. Do not use one that requires them to sit through an advertisement or use audio. Captchas are obnoxious, but to avoid bot exploitation, they’re somewhat unavoidable.
Login is what will happen regularly, where signup only happens once. However, it’s still irritating, so let’s see what we can do to streamline this a bit.
First, avoid making them answer their security questions just for a routine login. This happens with a lot of services now, and it’s so annoying. It’s not a good customer experience if a login isn’t one or two steps maximum.
Try to preserve their login or use a cookie to remember them. Offer a “remember me” function which lets them not have to log in again until they purge their cookies. They will thank you for this.
Finally, unless they’ve failed their login attempt at least five times, leave captchas out of this step completely. Leave them out. Dealing with only one, once to sign up, is horrible enough.
Presentation of your service is another big one. If this is an SaaS system or something similar, centralize all functionality from a hub. Make everything accessible from one location, with no nested navigation or mystifying sections and menus.
Consider onboarding some HTML5/AJAX infrastructure for a more streamlined approach that requires little to no navigation at all, if possible. The fewer times they have to load a page, and then click “back” to return to a central point, the better.
Make the page attractive but simple, and make it cooperative with a range of bandwidths.
Help and Contact
Make your help and contact components easy to access. A single click should yield a pop up or page with a support email, a support forum or help desk, and a phone number of your customer service has one. FAQ should be easy to find, and have an inline search system so they do not have to wade through stacked topics.
This is the strategy for a great online customer experience. Modify this a a little to work with your scenario and business, and you’re good as gold, guaranteed.