As recently as a couple of years ago the ability for your customers to book training courses online was viewed as a nice-to-have, but in 2015 this facility is now an essential. More than this though, as consumers have become more and more familiar with other areas of online shopping they now expect a smooth, intuitive booking and payment process. Whether you currently offer online course booking or it is an area you are looking to go into there are 6 key questions that you should be asking yourself.
1. Is it consistent with my website?
Your website is your shop window so it’s only natural that you would want to provide an attractive and hassle free shopping experience for your customers.
Many of you may be familiar with the cheap and cheerful event booking software tools on the market, the downside to this route is that you have little to no influence over how the booking process looks to your consumer. This is similar for plugins and i-Frames which can be rigid in terms of how information is displayed.
The option that provides the most flexibility is API integration whereby your web developer has complete freedom over how to display your course information.
2. Is it accessible to all of my customers?
Customers now expect to be able to shop via their phones, tablets and other mobile devices. This is highlighted by the report from Amazon Inc that “nearly 60 percent of Amazon.com customers shopped using a mobile device” during the 2014 pre-Christmas shopping period.
Aim to support as many different types of customer as possible by offering a mobile responsive checkout process which will dynamically resize depending on what device is in use.
3. Do I offer a smooth payment experience?
How many times have you been shopping online and found yourself redirected to another site to provide payment? This results in the process becoming dis-jointed and leaves much more room for errors to occur. It is far better to allow your customers to input their card details on your page with it being verified behind the scenes by the appropriate payment gateway to deliver a seamless shopping experience.
4. Can my customers book multiple courses at once?
This might seem like a simple one but there are many training companies out there who only offer the ability to book and pay for one course at a time. Their customers often have to complete a full booking form, then again for the second course and so on. This might not be a big deal for some but if you are selling shorter, cheaper courses then it is unwise to discourage people from booking multiple courses at once.
5. Are my customers kept informed?
Most customers do one thing after they have booked a course or bought a product online: check their email! Make sure that you have the capacity to send an instant confirmation of what has been purchased, including all relevant information such as course content and venue directions.
Why not also consider offering an instant SMS communication which confirms the successful booking?
6. Do I know who to contact post-course?
Within the booking process you should also consider asking if the customer would like to sign up to any newsletters or marketing material that you may wish to send. In-line with email regulations this is something you should ask, not assume. Here are 5 Marketing Tips To Improve Your Outgoing Emails.
Another key area to explore post-course is evaluation. Let course delegates have their say and use the information to make enhancements and improvements.