I recently took delivery of a new laptop – a top of the range, powerful workhorse, with Windows 10 preinstalled.
And before I had added even one program I had to do a complete reset – the full monty kind: delete everything and start again by reinstalling Windows.
Why? Because as I was configuring the settings there were several things that just didn’t work, no matter what I did.
Not a good start.
The reset did fix the problems, though, so I pushed on and started installing the programs that I use, one of which was Microsoft Office.
The customer journey
I have the original CD for Office 2010, but that’s a bit long in the tooth now (although it still does its job) and, anyway, I saw that Office 2016 had also been preinstalled.
So, filled with anticipation, I decided to activate it.
As I had no product key I had to log into my Microsoft account and purchase one. Microsoft are so keen to push you into using Office 365 that trying to buy a legitimate single copy that you can download onto your machine requires some detective work.
None-the-less, I persevered, found the correct buttons to push and got myself whisked off to an account login page and, from there, to the Microsoft store. I dodged the Office 365 options, found what I wanted, added it to my cart and checked out.
So far so good.
Except that after paying for my trophy nothing happened. No confirmation message of either the success or failure of the payment, no instructions for the next step. Nothing.
Maybe I clicked the wrong button somewhere, I thought, so let’s try this again.
I tried yet again, using PayPal instead of my credit card – no luck.
I scratched my head for a while and then found a rather obscure link to ‘Orders’, which I clicked. Sure enough, my 3 orders were sitting there smiling at me.
But I could neither cancel them nor pay for them.
So I tried the process for a 4th time and came to a screen in the Office 2016 sequence that displayed my account and a button that said ‘Lets get started’. Hmm, OK.
With somewhat less anticipation than earlier, clicked the button and was presented with a message that said ‘No products associated with this account. Try another?’
Dumb machine – there are THREE products in my account – I’ve just been looking at them..!
Clearly there was nothing for it but to click the helpful button on the side of the screen that asked me if I needed help, and start a chat session.
After two and a half hours of going around in circles with the (over-friendly) person on chat I was no further forward.
I should point out at this stage that I had been taking these steps over a period of 3 days (including the PC reset) and, after two and a half fruitless hours on chat, my blood pressure was at stratospheric levels and Microsoft was not my favourite company.
So I explained to the representative that it was no wonder people bought boot leg copies when it was this much trouble to buy a legitimate one, and ended the chat session.
I logged out of my Microsoft account and decided the only thing I could do was to find a software store and see if I could buy an old-fashioned installation CD.
So after uninstalling the preinstalled Office from my machine, I headed off in search of a store.
Shopping cart abandon rate
One of the factors that operators of online shops watch closely is the shopping cart abandon rate (what I just did with Microsoft’s online store).
And the way to reduce your shopping cart abandon rate is to make your customers’ user journey as smooth, as confidence-inspiring and as pleasant as possible.
That means clear instructions for the next step, a progress bar and, most importantly, clear messages after each action your customer takes, confirming what the result was and what they need to do next.
It’s simple, but it’s not easy. And it requires constant review and, where necessary, revision.
Just to finish the story:
I did find a software store that sold me Office 2016. It wasn’t on a CD, though, it was simply a product key.
But it came with clear, step-by-step instructions explaining where I had to go to download, install and activate the application.
It worked flawlessly, and it’s exactly what they should have done for those who attempt to activate a preinstalled version via the Microsoft online store.
Everything is working perfectly now, but at an unnecessary cost to my blood pressure. It really should not be that hard in 2017.
If your shopping cart abandon rate is higher than you’d like by all means get in touch – let’s see if we can help: