Making it easy to reprint confirmation pages

09Sep10

Let’s say you just placed an order on amazon.com. You didn’t feel the need to print a receipt or confirmation page, since they always email you a copy of the order anyway. But after you receive the product, you decide it would be a good idea to have a printed receipt on file. So you go back to the Amazon site, locate the right order, click the appropriate button to view the order details, and print out the page. In a matter of seconds, you found all the info you needed.

However, not every website makes it easy to reprint order receipts and other types of confirmation pages. For example, I recently paid a utility bill and wanted to print the usual confirmation page. But since I hit the wrong button on the screen, the bill payment site went back to its main menu. I looked far and wide, but there was no way to print a confirmation page for a previous payment. You could sort of see the payment in a list of past activity, but the detail screens only let you change or cancel the payment — not simply show when and how it was made.

To correct this problem, designers should follow a simple rule. Any time that your website generates an important confirmation page that customers might want to keep for their records — such as an order receipt, payment confirmation, or change to a billing plan — then you should provide a way to retrieve that same confirmation page again later. One approach would be to provide an “Activity History” or similar list, with a link to view the original confirmation page that accompanied each transaction.

Regardless of which format you select, the important thing is to give customers better access to their past activity within your site. By making it easy for them to reprint confirmation pages and other important documents, you’ll provide customers with added peace of mind. Plus, even if the typical user only accesses these documents once or twice a year, having the info available shows that you’re readily anticipating their future needs, and turns an otherwise frustrating search into a quick and efficient interaction.



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