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You Had Me at “Submit” (aka the Pre-Customer Experience)

startupsOn the Web, first impressions are everything.

People are too time-strapped and bogged down by multi-tasking to invest  time to do anything. They scan rather than read, tweet rather than comment, and assess in seconds whether a Website or service has any interest or value.

For startups, it means they only get one shot to make a good first impression. If your messaging, value propositions or pricing are unclear, people will quickly click away.

But what happens if your service or product captures someone’s attention to the point where they’re interested in signing up or registering? This is when your messaging, marketing and flow needs to be top-notch.

This is a process I describe as pre-customer experience, or PCX, because it involves what happens before someone become a customer or user.

During this process, it is important to provide the potential customer with affirmation  and confidence they’re making a good “purchasing” decision. At the same time, it is crucial not to give people a reason to abandon the process because their interest wanes, they forget the benefits being offered, or signing up becomes too much work.

Once you get someone through the registration process to click on “Submit”, it is a major step. But the work isn’t over. At this point, you have to keep on marketing to validate the user’s decision.

This is why confirmation emails are important because they’re so much more than simply confirming what someone has just done. Instead, they’re another opportunity to market your product or service, and provide information to get them to embrace and even promote the product.

In an ideal world, PCX is quick, seamless and intuitive. There is a natural flow to the process that drives conversions and, at the same time, gets the new customer into the product or service as soon as possible.

For more thoughts on the customer experience, check out this blog post by Sensei Wisdom about the importance of creating an influential experience.

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