- The customer feels supported. If someone goes to a site and doesn't feel guided or receive help to make decisions along the way, he won't feel that he is having a great experience. There is a fine line between hovering over a customer, being in his way and hoping he will talk to you and being available to help - if needed - to make a decision. And prospects and customers need support and guidance to make a decision. Always.
- The customer doesn't feel pressured. Companies always want to get sales - but there is a way to get a sales that isn't pushy. We all know that someone goes to a store to buy something, but we also know that there are different stages of a sales cycle. Assume that the user is maybe one step behind where you think he is to keep the sales pressure off. More on this in another post.
- The customer feels secure and confident in his or her decisions throughout the process. People want to feel that they made the right decision. A great customer experience will allow for that, with checkpoints along the way so people feel that they are doing the right thing, even for a small purchase.
- The customer feels that he is experiencing progress - whatever that may mean. Progress can mean different things to different people. For example, during the sales process online, that could be going from a shopping cart to purchasing a product. Or it could mean that someone made a decision as to what to buy in his cart. In a store, this could mean that the prospect narrowed down his options to 2 washing machines rather than 10. There is a way to show progress on the screen or in the experience that flags to the individual that he is making progress to a final decision. And that decision could be no purchase. But more on this later.
- The customer feels a sense of accomplishment for an activity. This is why there are steps in an online sales process. People like to feel that they finished something. This is similar to the step above - but it is slightly different. In this case, you feel like you finished an activity and you are onto the next step. You clearly know what is expected of you to achieve a goal. You can always be doing things to progress along a path, but those activities may not include any sense of finality.
- The customer feels informed - knowing all of the options available and understand that there are choices. Great customer experiences include a strong education component. People don't want to feel that they don't have a choice - they need to see a number of options. Not too many options to be overwhelming, of course, but it is comforting to know that there are different ways to solve a problem and you are going with the best solution for you.
- The customer has a pleasant experience with it. Looks matter. If a site or a store isn't attractive, it won't get much traffic. I've witnessed usability studies where the user was completely lost on a page, but if it looked good, he wouldn't treat it as harshly as if it looked ugly. The same is true for a store - we do judge stores by their looks. We determine what the experience will most likely be. It's part of life.
- The customer feels it is easy to conduct business with this company. If you go to a store and its hard to find anything, its hard to check out, it's hard to return an item - would you go there again? People want to interact with things that are easy to get along with.
- The customer feels he can trust the store/site. This is last - but it's the most important on the list and all of the other feelings lead to this big one. If a prospect or customer doesn't feel that he can trust the store, he won't buy from it - or will buy with reservations. And all of the other aspects build trust with the customer.
More posts will be coming that will provide more detail for each feeling that a customer needs to have to make a great customer experience.
Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. Curious to hear!