How to create confidence online and drive revenue

How can you give your users confidence in buying online? At Global Reviews, we have conducted hundreds of customer experience benchmarks, and our new 4CE studies take into account scores from both expert reviews and real consumer activities and insight. We suggest that an overall score of 55% in our studies indicates that a brand is just adequately meeting customer experience needs online. On average, UK credit card websites score 47.6%, and mortgage provider sites 49%, with no sites getting a positive web promoter score; meaning that in all cases, more people would discourage others from using the sites than would encourage them to do so, writes Rebecca Jennings

How can you give your users confidence in buying from you online? At Global Reviews, we have conducted hundreds of customer experience benchmarks, and our new 4CE studies take into account scores from both expert reviews and real consumer activities and insight. We suggest that an overall score of 55% in our studies indicates that a brand is just adequately meeting customer experience needs online. On average, UK credit card websites score just 47.6%, and mortgage provider sites 49%, with no sites getting a positive web promoter score; meaning that in all cases, more people would discourage others from using the sites than would encourage them to do so, writes Rebecca Jennings

So what would be our top tips for increasing consumer’s confidence in you online?

Start from the top; with your homepage

First impressions count, and never more so when users are contemplating a major financial decision, such as buying their first home or even moving a bank account. So make sure the first page they see – home page or landing page from SEO or PPC – immediately reassures them that you can meet their needs and that you are a trustworthy and reliable provider. Landing pages should always relate directly to what they are looking for; if it doesn’t, don’t expect them to waste valuable time going further.
Make sure top pages link clearly to your product range and relevant tools, and incorporate content that illustrates to users why they should buy from you. This doesn’t have to be price-led; it could be a recent award your business has won, or impressive customer service statistics. For example, The AA’s insurance homepage does a pretty good job of making their products clear, as well as including content about their low prices and a link to a jargon buster.

Give prospective customers personalised help

In the banking market, it can be hard for consumers to understand and compare products. Increase their confidence that they are picking the right product for them by offering personalised help such as tools that offer guided choice – asking consumers a few questions about their preferences to narrow down their options. For example, Vodafone’s price plan selection tool allows users to select the options that are most appealing – such as sending overseas texts or browsing the web – and offers the most appropriate options. Ensure product comparison tables are laid out side by side on one page. Enable users to remove features that aren’t of interest to them and to print out or email information easily.

Tell consumers why you are the right choice for them

In a very competitive market, why should users buy from you? Your website is one of the most effective ways of showing users how you meet their needs best, even if you aren’t the cheapest. Conduct a gradual drip feed of your value throughout the customer journey, especially at key decision points such as comparison pages. For example, highlight product options that others don’t offer and that your call centres are open 24/7 with an average wait time of just 5 seconds, or showcase positive customer reviews. Bupa, for example, not only has relevant supporting content on product pages, but reinforces this with data and awards that appear when the application form is loading.

Set expectations clearly

Filling out a mortgage or account application form can be a complex and time consuming process. To increase confidence, make sure users are always told up front how long it will take and what they will need to have to hand, such as wage slips. For more complex transactions, let them save the form and return to it, and always warn users if forms will time out if left for a certain period. For example, HSBC’s introduction page for applying for a mortgage tells users everything they will need to complete the form and links to further explanation.

Provide contextual help both on and offline

More so than many other industries, banking involves a lot of complex terminology. Help users navigate the maze with context-specific help integrated throughout the site (including application forms), rather than just linking to the top of the help section and expecting users to trawl this to find an answer. Industry specific terms should be linked to a glossary. Insurers LV= have one that can be switched on and off, while HSBC lists the top five questions relating to mortgage products at the bottom of relevant pages, alongside a phone number and branch finder.

If you have email contact forms on the site, make sure users can keep a copy of any communication they send; likewise with any live chats they take part in. Phone numbers should come complete with opening hours as well as call back options, so if users want to seek offline reassurance, they can easily do so.