While it may seem like a small topic in the grand theater of customer experience, the navigation of the customer journey is a key component to creating experiences that are truly memorable for the good stuff – not the totally frustrating. After all, how can any experience be effortless if there is so much effort in just finding what we need?
Honestly, helping your customers find their way is so critical, it’s baffling how it’s overlooked. Customers lose their way and then wander out to find your competitors. They wander out of your store, your web site, your mobile app… and then they never come back. There are probably 3 things you’re doing that cause customers to lose their way.
1. Assuming They Know What They’re Looking For
Customers aren’t customers until they start an official relationship. But they sometimes want you to show them the way. They want you to have knowledge about their issues, their needs and for goodness sake – your own products. Helping customers find the right product or service should be a discussion, not a monologue. If your service people or sales reps or account executives don’t know their stuff – the customer will have no problem finding a competitor who does.
2. Testing Based On Carefully Crafted Scenarios (Instead of a Real Life Customer Journey)
Web developers pat themselves on the back when they bring in the testers to the lab and get glowing reports. The only issue is when the script is inadvertently leading the witness. After bringing the tester to the perfect “launching point” on a complicated web site, they then ask the user to do something specific. The user then does it, so it’s considered successful. The only problem is humans don’t typically operate this way. They wander and become distracted. They try to do more than one thing at once. Watching a perfectly orchestrated, linear demonstration doesn’t uncover the issues with findability that many users could have. Testing should be messy and a tad more unscripted. Watching behavior – like where users actually go and what they search for on the site – can show you where navigation challenges are happening.
3. Moving Icons and Calls-To-Action
Mobile has introduced a whole new level of complexity to the customer experience. If your customers are used to a specific icon for a specific action (like payment, or exit) in a specific place online, watch what happens with your mobile experience. And then – watch what happens from device to device. If your customer is online on their desktop at work, their Android phone on the train and their iPad at home, don’t make them relearn the navigation strategy each time. An icon should be an icon should be an icon, and mean the same thing universally.
Helping your customers find their way should be a priority for the entire experience, not just when they walk into your bank branch or shop your store online. Consider the customer who sticks with you and how to help them do so. What’s the point of getting them there in the first place if they just get lost?