“It is what we think we already know that often prevents us from learning.” ~ Claude Bernard, French physiologist
This is the second part of a series of articles whose information was garnered from working the front lines of customer support for software companies. Its purpose is to teach you how to better leverage your communication opportunities with customers after they make their purchases.
In this post, we teach software companies how to improve confirmation pages and reduce customer contacts.
As discussed in this blog recently, the customers that contact your customer service department often seek assistance with installing, activating and using your software. They are easily frustrated, and information that is not clearly explained in confirmation or support pages increases refund requests, and your goal is to reduce those.
First Example: Minimal Information
Thank you for purchasing the premium version of our software
The world’s most popular PC cleaning and optimization solution!
Full feature set, software updates and priority support. Instant online delivery!
Your software registration details are below:
Name: John Smith
License Key: CXXX-YYYY-ZZZZ-ABCD-EFGH
This example begins with a brief description of the software and includes registration and activation details.
In many cases, these customers already have a free/trail version of the product installed. When the order confirmation details are read, the end-user does not always know that the download link installs that same free version once again. Instead, the instructions may lead them to believe they will download of a different full version of the product. In this case, the customer’s free version simply needs to be activated to unlock the program to the full version.
For those customers that understand that the link is still for the free version, the challenge is in finding where to go to activate and register their product.
Note that the name details, captured during the order process, are necessary for activating the software. However, there are no instructions that say the name details must be entered exactly as they appear in the confirmation page. Customers can easily modify their name during activation and registration — including a middle initial, or they shorten/elongate their first name.
The license key must also be entered exactly as displayed, but it is often the case that customers don’t realize they can copy and paste the license key into the appropriate field.
One option for software publishers to consider is making a instructional video on activating the software and posting it to YouTube. Why not provide a link to that information so customers struggling with this process can see how easy it is to accomplish?
Example Two – Setting Up Next Steps and Offering More Help
Getting started with your purchase
Thank you for purchasing our internet security software!
Product Key: XXXX-UUUU-ZZZZ-1234-7895
Write down or copy the product key. You must enter the Product Key to full activate your subscription.
Click here for installation instructions.
This software maker provides additional guidance aimed at helping the customer after purchasing. Using phrases like “getting started” is a great way to make the customer aware of steps that will need to be taken after completing the order.
Note that there is an emphasis on the importance of the product key and that it is essential for activating the software subscription. Though this is a helpful reminder, challenges may ensue when costumers attempt to manually enter these details. A notice to customers about the possibility of typos would be beneficial.
The link to additional installation instructions can take the customer to an area where they can download the software. They will also find visual aids detailing the download process. This is a great self-help option that safeguards against confusion and uncertainty.
Example Three – Providing Steps and Additional Tips
Your product license key is below
Please ensure you keep this license information in a safe place for future reference.
To activate your product please do the following:
1. If you do not yet have the software installed, you can download it from the link above.
2. Open your software. Click Activate.
3. Copy and paste your ID and Key listed above and click Activate.
Important: Please make sure you are COPYING and PASTING the ID and Key directly from the confirmation email into the proper fields. The code is case sensitive and contains letters and numbers that can be easily confused, so make sure you distinguish between the letter “O” and the number “0” if you enter the code manually.
These instructions are helpful in key areas. The activation details are provided along with an important note to save them for future reference. The purchaser may need to re-install the software at some point and this information will be required. If customers remember to save it, they won’t have to contact a customer support representative to have the details resent.
Next, there is a download link and sequential activation steps. Important information is emphasized recommending the copy and paste method to prevent manual entry errors. There is additional advice to pay attention to special characters.
Still, customers may get confused when reading the details as presented. Slightly rearranging and rewording the information can help.
For example, start with the following line:
“After purchasing your premium upgrade, you must now activate your purchase to change it from the free version to the full version.”
In the first step, consider mentioning the following:
“Please note, you need the free version installed on your computer first. If you do not have it installed already, use the provided link to save and run the setup file before going to step 2.”
Experiment With Ideas
These examples are only a few that we come across on a daily basis. Consider using a blend of these details on your confirmation pages. Provide information that gives additional clarity and guidance that will help customers. Remember to think about the least experienced software purchaser and start building help content from there.
Engage in comparing your support documentation and resources to those utilized by other companies. Taking the time to evaluate differing support methods and content arrangement can lead to inspiring new ideas that will help reduce contacts and refund requests from frustrated customers who want to use your product but can’t figure out how.
Bernie Aguirre is a Customer Service Quality Assurance Analyst at cleverbridge.