User experience (UX) has become very important in digital course design. In your modules, you probably strive to make sure that your learners get the best experience, the most natural flow of information, and the benefit of the latest intuitive assistants.
Yet there is another aspect that is just as important but often over sought by businesses – the customer experience.
Keep in mind that we live in the age of customer reviews and ‘peer recommendation’ is stronger than ever when it comes to most purchase decisions.
How to improve the customer experience of your online learners
I have recently enrolled in an online course and even though the material and the instructor were ok, the business irritated me to such an extent that I never want to hear from them again – they were aggressive in their attempts to convince me to buy more modules and unsubscribing was deliberately made very complicated.
That gives you an idea about how not to proceed.
What you should do, according to Customer Strategist Journal is to be mindful of six areas of the digital customer experience. Let’s explore them:
Reachability ranks number 1
The way you communicate with your course buyers as a business plays a big part in shaping their experience as customers. Since you probably do most of the marketing for your digital courses online, you know where your clients are and are familiar with the way they like to be addressed and answered.
It’s very important that you are available to them even after the sale has been closed. Answer all questions and complaints in an assertive and open manner. Reachability can serve as an enormous competitive advantage if you do it properly.
It’s important that your clients know they can ‘talk’ to your business and get relevant responses or resolutions in a timely manner. Make sure you clearly include accessible “contact” links on all your points of presence and check the requests regularly.
Since you are an independent instructional designer, not Amazon, you probably can’t afford a 24/7 customer service or a highly (artificially) intelligent chatbot to answer questions or provide support. However, in this day and age, you need to put in place a start-to-finish online support mechanism.
The online learning company I mentioned in the intro insisted on completing some actions by phone. It was frustrating, it took a long time to make it through the robot and the number was international and obviously not toll-free.
If your customers are learning online, it’s most probably their preferred environment, so offer support there and constantly have an up to date knowledge base on your site so that they might find the answers they are looking for.
This is about tailoring products and services to individual customer needs. For clothing stores, this client requirement translated into offering the possibility to have items they liked sent to fitting rooms so they could try them on before they buy.
When it comes to digital learning, purchase convenience is both about free trial periods or complimentary educational materials and about the possibility of micro-buying. Online courses are generally longer than five minutes but in order to fit customer demands, they ought to be modular so that small units can be purchased for, evidently, lower amounts than the entire course.
The competition is vast, and the options varied so you want to eliminate some of the purchase friction for your clients by allowing them to chose only what they feel is important.
Personalization is not new to the realm of customer experience. Businesses have long stored our names in databases so that they could send us e-mails that sound like they were individually written. Of course, people are on to that but they still see it as a sign of respect and appreciation for their loyalty and business. It also signals that the company is making an effort at retention.
Even if you don’t have a professional database and automation tools (or possibly because of that) you can personalize each interaction in a more authentic way.
Do online shout-outs to those who post about finishing one of your courses on social media, engage in conversations that have your products or services in the taglines, and periodically thank your existing customers for their support and ask them for feedback.
Simplicity and ease of use
This should be a no-brainer for you. If you manage to design engaging, easy to navigate online courses, you should simply apply that expertise to your site. When setting out to amp up your business’ page ease of use, you’ll want to focus on simplifying website navigation for all browser types.
Mobile is really big these days so it’s important for all actions to be easily completed even without a laptop or desktop on hand. It’s a good idea to take a look at all the online processes and see if they can be completed easier and with fewer clicks.
People value their time and if you want them to come back to your page, you don’t want them fumbling around in the first place.
Channel flexibility asks for an approach that provides customers with an integrated, seamless experience — even when moving from desktop to mobile or between various social media (and traditional, if available) channels for support.
The keyword for you is omnichannel.
In an omnichannel world, the customer experience should be identical across platforms and channels — and it should contain proper context when the situation calls for it. What it means for you is that you should provide several contact points on various platforms and respond consistently on each of them.
Online learning is increasingly popular today. People seek to find new information, better themselves, and constantly upskill. With a varied offer of highly qualitative materials, it is the overall customer experience that will make the difference and get your business recommended or reprimanded.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.