Online confusion and indecision


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Even well designed websites have visitors who need to use a second or third channel to complete their purchase or resolve their issue. Understanding how online facilities fail these customers helps create better online and offline services. Organisations should know when online is causing issues instead of preventing them.

Lack of online help leads to frustration
“Have you visited us online?” opens up a conversation around why customers are using a second channel. What comes next surprises most in the organisation, with the exception of customer facing staff: frustration about not being helped online and irritation over lack of clear and understandable information.

7 minutes of the organisation equals 7 hours for the customer
Organisations often don’t recognise the time, effort, and frustration the customer spent before reaching out to a call centre or a physical store. Customers research, select, try and fix things often using online resources. When they finally reach out for help they expect clear, crisp instructions and solutions.

Online confusion and indecision Forcing customers online when there are limited self service capabilities is a frustrating experience for customers and leads to preventable customer incidents.

Self-service vs. customer in control
Even when customers demand self service capabilities, organisation struggle to deliver effective tools and information online. The source of this inability often is the focus on shifting the burden (and costs) to customers instead of giving control over things that are important to them. Know what customers want to control.

80 – 20 rule
Most of what customers want/need is known in the organisation. Dumping lots of material online, or giving access to personal data actually causes more confusion. Customers can address common issues by structuring online services around what people want to control and helping them to do so using clear language.

40% of customers expect representatives they speak with to already know about their previous attempts to resolve an issue

Customers are experts in what matters to them
Knowing when and why customers get stuck in the overall lifecycle is far more important than investigating why they were unable/unwilling to complete an online transaction. The good news is that customers are already giving you this information. The bad news is that it usually comes in the form of complaints.

Guide the decision, win the customer
Some products and services require expert advice at specific points to facilitate decision making, or complete a transaction online. Use in house expertise in combination with online decision making tools to proactively guide customers through options and consideration. The pay-off can be 50% reduction in complaints and issues, increased up/cross sell and reduced churn.

Guide the customer
Some services are too complex for customers to commit to online. Helping customers with their decisions, or carrying on the conversation in another channel leads to more successful transactions. The better you understand customers’ overall needs, the better you can organise your online channel and offers.

Ben Reason
Ben Reason is a service design consultant with 20 years experience with a wide range of public, and private sector organisations. As a founder of Livework he leads the London studio and team on projects that bring a customer view to major challenges and opportunities in industries ranging from healthcare and financial services, to public transport.


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