Simplifying Your Registration Process Can Improve Sales and Earn You an “A” in Customer Satisfaction
Simplifying your registration process doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be shorter; instead, make it easier for people to choose. Research about decision making suggests four things we can do to make it easier for our customers to make choices. These four (free) actions can help customers really get what they want and increase sales.
Before you continue, think of your online event registration process. Is your event registration process pretty simple and straight-forward or does it feel like a game of 20 questions? Do you ask so many question and give them so many options that even you get confused? Choose your event registration strategy carefully.
Presenting your attendees with too many options can overwhelm them, causing them to over-think or over-analyze their options. This can lead to choice-paralysis; a situation where attendees may never be able to decide and register.
Too many registration options reduce customer:
- Engagement – everyone avoids making difficult decisions, especially if we feel it will take too long or we aren’t sure we’ll make the right choice.
- Decision Quality – the more options a customer has, the more likely (odds) that they’ll make the wrong choice.
- Satisfaction – when customers make poor decisions they are often upset and do not have a good experience.
How many options are the right amount?
I wish I could answer that question with a specific number, I really do. But every business and each event is different so it’s nearly impossible to find the exact number for each attendee. Instead, I’m going to share a few principles with you that you can use over and over again, with each event and even with other areas of your business. These principles also come from the recent research being done in decision-making in general, but lets apply them to online event registration.
These four techniques will make it easier for your customers to decide.
1 – Cut
You’ve heard it said before, “less is more”. If you’ve chosen a relational event registration strategy then as an event manager it’s important to find the right approach to collect enough information from the attendee to properly host your event and grow your business and not overwhelm the attendee(s).
A few ways you can cut down your online event registration process might include:
- Auto-fill commonly used question/forms such as the individual’s name, email address, etc. This might not be an option for people who are registering for the first time, but it might be available for repeat attendees (see the WP Users Integration).
- Combine questions. If you have two similar questions is there a way you can get the information you need without explicitly asking additional questions? For example, gathering an attendee’s event history with “Have you ever attended?” and “How many years?” may be consolidated “Number of years attended” with options zero through 25.
- Eliminate questions that are already answered. For example, if you have gender-specific ticket option then there is probably no need to ask the gender of the attendee. Just use the type of ticket they selected as a way to get the same information.
- Make only the really required questions “required”. That way attendees can skip less applicable questions if they’re in a hurry.
- Use common language to make your event description and registration forms easy to read (see the Flesch-Kincaid readability test).
All these ways to “cut” help reduce how much brain power is required to register for your event.
I’m using it on multiple sites and enjoying it. It’s simple and as others have stated… fast service and real help.
2 – Concretize
Bring the options to life. If you’re offering multiple types of tickets to an event, explain why. Do the “Adult” tickets get something special that isn’t offered for the children? Will the VIP ticket give them back-stage access to meet and get a photo with the band? Use images, videos, customer testimonials and event statistics/results when they are applicable.
3 – Categorization
Categorizing the choices provides additional information and can help the brain comprehend all the options.
For example, if you’re a conference event manager with one big event and a bunch of sub-events. Instead of giving attendees a long list of thirty sub-sessions to choose from each day, categorize each sub-event into a category by topic, subject, or target audience (who the event is intended to help).
With Event Espresso you can categorize events, group questions, and even add descriptive text to the event categories and question groups to add context to the choices.
4 – Condition
Condition your attendees for complexity – gradually increase the complexity of the questions or event options you present to people registering for your event.
For example, don’t start by asking the attendees to make a donation at the same time they register for a race. Begin by asking if they’ve ran the race before, their best time or their skill level. Then ask the runner when they would like to run, if they’d like to invite another person to run with them, then finally to make a donation.
If you’re asking more personal questions of an attendee, consider asking their identifying information last (name, email address, mailing address, etc.). Because people are more likely to finish the sign up form after they’ve already invested more time giving you that information.
This article is getting long so I categorized my last few paragraphs to make it easier to finish reading…
Measure your customer engagement over time. Watch your website analytics to see how changing your registration process and registration forms changes your attendee’s behavior. Are people spending more or less time on the registration form(s)? Are you improving the metric where more people are completing the form with each new visit? If you want to get ambitious you could try setting up two different registration forms and monitoring your event registration metrics to determine which performs better.
For those who participate in the Event Espresso User eXperience Improvement Program (UXIP), we will be publishing data that can help them better understand what event registration options lead to more registrations and happier customers.
Make it easier for your attendees to register for your events, not harder. Facilitate the event, don’t get in the way.
For more on making it easier to decide please watch this recommended video: