Self-Service: Site Visitors Want to Complete Tasks Themselves & Here’s Why You Should Let Them
Site visitors want to be able to complete tasks themselves. They want to find what they need in various ways and times, such as on their phone or after business hours. Your website should allow this and be fully functional. This benefits you as well, freeing up your time. You will spend less time dealing with numerous phone calls from people unable to locate something on your site or trying to figure out how to apply for a service.
There are many remarkably effective ways to make your website functional and allow for this self-service operation.
One of the most efficient ways is to employ the use of online forms. Convert all your PDF forms into online forms, and this eliminates that extra step of a site visitor needing to download the form, print and fill it out, and then mail it back.
- Ability to fill out and submit directly from the website
- Receive all the submissions online in one place
- Send directly to the person in charge of each form
- Allows for file uploads
The forms can be updated and easily adjusted, and because the form is online, the updates will show immediately on the site. Online forms also help your website fall in line with our STAR Standard, ensuring the content is:
Following the STAR standard can further mitigate risk for your organization and allows your site visitors to have a pain-free experience.
Simplify Complicated Forms
Use some creative problem-solving for complicated forms by simplifying with online forms. Are there some fields that only need to be filled out if they answer yes to an earlier question? Using conditional logic allows you to hide certain fields that only appear if they select a specific answer to a question. Filling out online forms will be much easier for your site visitors when they only see what they need to see.
Another way to simplify forms even further for your organization is via PDF Generation from Online Forms. If your team is familiar with your current PDF’s look, you can opt-in to have your online form submissions sent to you looking similar to your PDF. This creates a seamless transition to online forms without too much adjusting to your internal processes.
You can set each form to go directly to the person in charge of that service or department, to multiple people, and you can even send a copy to the person who submitted it. Form notification messages can be customized based on the recipient or how particular fields were filled out. You can ensure that no form ever gets lost or sent to the wrong department, and site visitors won’t worry about where to send the form since all they have to do is click submit.
Convert your employment application into an online form as well. Have your Careers page easily accessible, along with job qualifications and any necessary information. Include a direct link from the job description to the employment application. Site visitors will be able to view and apply for positions directly from your site.
Payment & Account Portals
Integrate a portal login directly on your homepage. Site visitors can create an account and will be able to accomplish multiple tasks such as:
- Paying their bill
- Managing their account
- Updating address or phone number
- Selecting payment plans or billing options
Online account access means they can view or update their account whenever or however they like, even in the middle of the night when you’re not open.
If you’re tired of answering the same questions over and over, consider the use of an FAQ page. Create this content based on the most commonly asked questions your customer service department receives. Then site visitors will be able to find answers quickly and easily without making a phone call. Your content will also show up in search results, adding another easy way to find this information.
Service outages (power and broadband outages, boil water alerts, etc.) can be a big problem. Consider using multiple ways to report an outage through their online account or even through texting. Include this information on an outage page on your site for visitors to find easily. If it’s a power outage, include a link to an outage map so they can look up where the outages are happening. As a result, this will free up your phone lines for any emergency calls.
Don’t forget that half of your site visitors will be using their mobile device while on your website. Ensure all of the above functions are mobile responsive and are just as easy to use as on desktops.
Using these different website capabilities frees up your organization’s time and gives your site visitors what they want: self-service. An added benefit is that you increase the level of accessibility of your site. And all this will create a memorable online experience.