Guiding customers through the account creation process


To make sending holiday packages a little bit easier (and avoid the dreaded post office), I decided to open an account with one of the national shipping companies. This process involved the following steps:

– Create an online services login

– Create a shipping account

– Add payment info to the shipping account

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not exactly. I also had to skip or ignore several other steps, including:

– Add payment info to the online services login

– Create an online billing login

Clearly, the website was designed to accomodate many different usage cases. This is great if you have a highly varied customer base, but tends to be confusing and frustrating for new customers.

What’s the solution? First, figure out the optimal series of steps that a new customer should take when creating an account. Then, publish those steps in a clear and obvious location on your website, so that people know what to expect. And finally, tailor the new account creation screens so that you actually guide customers through the process. By covering all the necessary steps and removing the extraneous ones, you’ll sign up more new customers, and give them a positive impression of your website from the start.