I am staying at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
Normally, I like the chain. If nothing else, it’s good for increasing my VERY LOW blood pressure. (Yes, I know it is difficult to believe.)
I will never, and I mean NEVER, understand how the Hampton Inn can give you a free hot breakfast, free cookies at night, free Internet access, free parking and a free pass to the fitness center and these chi-chi-la-la hotels all feel they need to charge you an extra $10-$50 per amenity – on top of their already exorbitant prices. But that’s another rampage, er, post.
Anyway, yesterday I tried running outside. What a train wreck that was! Not only did I get lost – after an almost-ten mile run – but I got “pulled over” by the police for running in a “private neighborhood.”
Getting stopped by the authorities happens to me quite a bit. Someday, I simply must tell you the story about rollerblading in Peterborough, NH, where I almost got a ticket or imprisoned. (I’m honestly not sure which way it would have gone. He had a very big belt buckle.) You would have thought I’d committed a quadruple homicide in the land of Live Free or Die, Just Don’t Skate!
So today, I figured it would be safest to stay inside. Plus, it’s pouring (read: flooding) and sweet girls like me have a tendency to melt. (Yes, I am sure a Wicked Witch of the West analogy would be more appropriate here….)
After doing my weights and my run in the hotel fitness center, I chugged down more than my fair share of the wretched WOD (Water of the Day — cucumber lemon or something equally atrocious) and hopped into the elevator. A woman was already there, standing smack-dab in front of the ONE working panel. (How come the elevators in the Hampton Inn always seem to work?)
I said politely.
The woman didn’t move one chinchilla-draped muscle.
“Would you please push six?”
I asked again in the nicest possible way.
The woman still didn’t move. Instead, she looked me up and down with a glare so cold it would freeze even Hillary. If I had known where the stairs were I would have bolted, although if truth be told I would have had to figure out how to open the doors first and I was lacking any thoughts besides murder. Would strangling the Ice Queen with my iPod cord be a public service or would I end up in jail?
“Please, if you can’t push six, would you at least move so I can push it?”
“You….. You…. You, little girl, you push 10 and you push it RIGHT NOW.”
At first, I thought there might be something wrong with her. I mean really – I hardly qualify as little. But she was waving her bony, rock-candy ensconced hands in my face with such fervor, I knew she was completely capable of pushing the buttons herself.
It’s times like this when I think of my personal Yoda, Mark Amtower (for whom the 7-second delay on TV was invented). Amtower (@amtower on Twitter), as he’s so affectionately called, is the author of a book entitled “Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes“. (www.epiphanybook.com) He has a “law” that says to never take s*&t from anything that breathes. He has another one that says you should never do anything that you can’t tell your Mom about. So there I was…. stuck in the elevator… with Cruella de Vil, wondering how I could whack this wench without a Soprano and not upset my slightly-to-the-left-of-the-salad-fork mother.
Then I had an epiphany. This is EXACTLY what people do on the Internet. I see it all the time in our usability sessions. They just sit there… waiting for the next action to somehow miraculously happen – for a genie to pop out of their Bud bottle.
They find a product they like and never put it in their cart, choosing instead to abandon.
They “view their cart” and never hit the checkout button.
They get to the checkout and can’t be bothered to type in their e-mail address to move past the first page or Step 1 on the temperature bar.
They take one look at a lead/inquiry form and find it so overwhelming, they give up and leave.
It’s astonishing – mind-boggling, in fact. But it happens.
Fortunately, I have several Asian factories working diligently to develop little personal elves that come with your computer to complete routine tasks – like pushing buttons and filling out names. But for now, please consider some of my sure-fire tips below to get people to click on your site.
P.S. As for the chiquita in the elevator, I’d like to say my maturity kicked in – but alas, I had used up my weekly allowance on Officer Not-Very-Friendly the day before. So instead, I just reached over her and pushed six. Not TEN but SIX.
When we got there, I resisted the temptation to hit every button but 10 as I walked out, leaving the Princess of Darkness in the elevator alone to rot. She may still be there. One can only hope…
Speaking of which, I told Mark Amtower about this story and he said “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there, does it make a sound? If the San Andreas fault decides to remove Beverly Hills from the continental US, would anyone besides Joan and Melissa Rivers really notice?”
8 Tips For Making Them Click….
1. Use BIG buttons
The bigger the better. (A good rule of thumb is to ask your designer to triple whatever they think is big.)
2. The more, the merrier
Make sure that you have at least one “click here now” or “buy now” button on every view. Not every page, but every view. No, it doesn’t look pretty but it works like gangbusters.
3. Ask only relevant questions
Remember, relevance is in the user’s mind, not yours, so ask only the questions that you absolutely, positively, 200% need answered to get an order or an inquiry. Save the other stuff for later — after the confirmation or a follow-up e-mail survey, for example. Questions like “Where did you hear about us?” and “What is your catalog code?” (unless they are getting a deal because of it), have been proven over and over to irritate users, making them delay or abandon their orders.
4. Use temperature bars
Granted, they look tacky but they work. Any (and every!) time, you have more than one step (meaning more than one page of stuff to go through), put a temperature bar on the top so that the user has a gauge for what it will take to finish the process.
5. Showcase a PC (perpetual cart) in every view you possibly can
Put PC’s in the upper right-hand corner, the right-hand column and the bottom corner. If you aren’t selling anything and don’t need a perpetual cart, use a perpetual inquiry box for signing up for your free e-mail/newsletter, asking for a quote, registering for a podcast or webinar, and so on. It keeps the user focused on what they’re supposed to do on your site.
6. Be clear
If I click on Catalog Quick Order, do I get a catalog or do I order from my catalog? “Ordering from a catalog? Click here now!” is so much clearer especially when you put a picture of a catalog nearby.
7. Use timed pop-ups or live help
I haven’t always been the biggest fan of live help because most of it is done so poorly, but if you do it well, consider “hovering.” Hovering is the process where you watch how long people are spending on a particular page (it works incredibly well in cart and search functions.) If you sense that they are struggling, you start a dialogue with them in a friendly, non-big-brother way. If you don’t have live chat, use a “Can We Help?” pop-up.
8. Display your phone number at least 100 times per page
Ok, so I pulled the 100 number out of my hat but I figure if I say “100”, you might do it 10 – which is just about the right number. If you offer click-to-call, you still need to include your phone number.