Convenience: The Crux of Customer Service Online
Meet me in my office for a discussion about web marketing. You can find me at the Starbucks two blocks from my home, where the WiFi connection is fast, the refills are free, and the background noise is inoffensive. I could do my work from a trailing list of coffee shops close by, but I head straight for Starbucks every day for the same reason: convenience.
The coffee is not memorable, but the tables are clean. The staff is approachable and unlikely to kick me out for my extended stay. Starbucks has made a returning customer out of me with its focus on ease of experience.
In customer-centric web marketing, convenience “is a critical factor in determining how customers make decisions about what to buy, what services to use, where to go, and with whom to engage” (Weissman, UXMagazine).
If not for the actual conveniences of my local Starbucks, I wouldn’t be going in on a daily basis. On the Internet, customers are drawn to sites for the same reason. If a product-browsing experience feels easy, the user is empowered to make the purchase, or inquire further.
Take these tips for improving user convenience on your service or product-based site. As Weissman notes, “convenience can be your major differentiator and a key customer decision-making attribute.” Stand out from your competitors with Socket’s online quoting software, and these key strategies:
Fight the need for FAQ’s
The Frequently Asked Question page might seem like the pinnacle of online convenience, but it often represents the opposite. The FAQ page answers all the questions that the site cannot answer on its own. For optimal user ease, this is no good. Aim to provide users with all the information they need to make the next step, without assistance from additional sources.
Check out this instructional layout for GPS Commander:
With clean space and emphatic typography, this homepage section gives the user detailed information to assure them of how to make the next move. An FAQ page would be redundant.
Develop an intuitive roadmap for your site
Understand that web surfers are on a mission, and that “they want zero friction.” (Henneberg, The Daily Egg Blog). Determine your customers’ path of discovery with market research, and design based on your findings. You can have an intuitive web design that fits your users’ needs, so long as you understand what those are. Does your user like to browse products based on visual representations? Are they interested in tech specs, or customer reviews? What are the characteristics of your target audience? Age, ethnicity, gender, lifestyle, and income are also factors to gauge.
Increase availability across platforms
Resolving customer complaints via Twitter interaction, or responding to queries through Facebook discussions shows potential clients that communication with your company is easy, and certifies your brand as accountable for its mistakes. With 750 million active Facebook users, it’s likely that your audience has some level of participation in social media. Appeal to their social involvement by offering multi-platform engagement in your business.
Showcase social media as integral to customer communication by displaying the links like this:
Make the inquiry process simple
Outfitting your service website with Socket’s quoting software will provide your users with the ultimate ease of experience. While other businesses require users to fill out forms and wait for a salesperson to contact them, Socket-equipped sites empower users with instant information. Decision-making is that much easier. Users are given the freedom to dream; they can enter in multiple variations on an instant quote page, and decide for themselves to pursue the company further. No waiting. No hassle.
Take a closer look here:
Accommodate users with content diversity
UX pioneer Ginny Redish reminds us that “to have a successful experience on a web site, people have to find what they need, understand what they find, and act appropriately on that understanding.” Offer users diverse content options for learning about your product, and knowing what to do next. GPS Commander covers all the bases with a “How it Works” page, where users can access explanatory video clips to guide them through the decision-making and purchase processes. Utilizing a range of media sources creates a dynamic learning landscape for users, and accommodates the needs of a diverse audience:
Video content appeals to a vast audience-the audience that doesn’t have the patience or time to sift through large chunks of text. Using video or infographic content helps communicate information that might otherwise be difficult or wordy to explain.
Design your homepage for ease
The convenience of Socket instant quoting software will stand out for users browsing sites for a specific product or service. Empowering users to make the inquiry will require a homepage that gets them to that step with ease. Redish has suggestions for convenient homepage content layout that we can point out on this homepage:
- The font sizes align with the target user’s needs. The Deversus user wants to see what the company has produced, to “shop” for web solutions. This need is met immediately, with a large “View project” button.
- The page is content-rich, but not wordy. The Deversus business definition is summarized succinctly: “We make great software for businesses.” Users have a firm understanding of what Deversus can offer, and they don’t have to read scrolls of content to decide whether to continue to engage with the site.
- User workflow is not road-blocked by inaccurate text or broken functions. There are no misleading italicized words or underlined phrases that could disrupt the discovery process.
Starbucks gets it, and you should, too. A convenient customer experience can be the make-or-break for consumers in a landscape that is saturated with competition. By understanding your user’s needs, you can create perfectly convenient situational contexts for browsing and purchasing your service.
Sometimes, a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee. But with attention to customer convenience, that $2.18 grande Pike Place transforms into a reliably comfortable experience.
Try out Socket today, hassle-free, to discover how to showcase your products or services with exceptional attention to customer convenience. As the Internet marketing landscape grows larger and e-commerce explodes, delighting your prospective clients with instant quotes will set you apart from the rest. Socket is the difference your clients are looking for.
Henneberry, Russ. “9 Web Design And Marketing Lessons Daddy Learned At The Grocery Store.” 15 February 2012. The Daily Egg Blog : http://blog.crazyegg.com/2012/02/15/web-design-marketing-lessons/
Redish, Ginny. Letting Go of the Words. 2007: Morgan Kaufman
Weissman, Ari. “Convenience: The third essential of a customer-centric business.” 16 February 2012. UX Magazine: http://uxmag.com/articles/convenience
Coffee Shop Photo credit: Charleston’s TheDigitel, flickr.com, Creative Commons.
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