Everyone has examples of pointless links embedded in confirmation emails and yesterday I had a new one.
I needed a copy of the confirmation for a BFI film screening, expecting the email to contain the link to take me to my account.
It contained a link alright:
… unfortunately it was useless. The home page offered me no ability to log in to my account:
I searched all the drop down menus where I was encouraged to sign up to this and that. But absolutely NO signpost to an existing customer’s account area.
I found this arrogant. This high-profile organisation’s marketing strategy is lost in the old days where getting the sale is the most important thing. Everything else is secondary.
It was back in 2004, that Jakob Nielsen wrote,
The biggest challenge in e-commerce is to get the first order. Don’t blow it thereafter. Treating customers well after they place their initial order will vastly increase the probability that they’ll place more orders in the future.
After another minute of random clicking around the site, the lovely animating banner captured my attention. There in beautiful colour was the slide for the season for which I’d bought my ticket – Studio Ghibli. Clicking the banner took me to the subsite:
…. and there was the login link. In the time it had taken me to work that out, I’d been made feel like a second thought.
In light of this, I check how another arts organisation, Whatsonstage.com, does it. In the confirmation email I’d received for a previous purchase is an embedded link. Yet however, the same thing happens! The link in the email takes me to their home page, where again, I am unable to log in:
The onus is on me, the customer, to find where to find my account. First I click ‘More’ which doesn’t produce the desired result, then I click ‘Theatre club’. And there it is…as obscure as it is:
It’s a matter of principle. Neither of these organisations leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling that I would want to spent my money with them again. Do they think that because they have the great and exclusive discounts and offers they do, that is enough to make customers return?
On the plus side, I know that if I do, I now know where my account pages are hidden.
And the final word from Mr Nielsen,
It’s an old lesson: It’s much easier to close additional sales with existing customers than to acquire new customers. People who’ve proven willing to give you money will often give you more. This is true for all sales channels, but it’s particularly crucial for e-commerce because the first order proves your credibility if you effectively handle follow-up and delivery.