We’re not talking about the wizards of yore, here. We’re talking about installation wizards, configuration wizards, product selection wizards, and the like. They’re evil. Let us explain.
Customers want to be able to see selections and have control over which one they choose. Wizards take away visibility and control, leaving the customer feeling like a rat in a maze… Will there be a piece of cheese at the end or an unpleasant shock?
Marketers like wizards because they help push the customer into the most profitable options. Developers like wizards because it controls the number of options and therefore the number of variables. Unfortunately, these decisions are based on what’s good for the marketer and developer and not what’s good for the customer. The best, most sustainable businesses are built on what’s good for the customer, so let’s take a look at the wizard from the customer’s perspective.
Even though it’s online, we’re still dealing with real people, so let’s use a real-life example to illustrate the customer’s frustration. Pretend you’re the customer and you’re headed to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. You’re not sure what you want, but are hoping to be inspired as you start to browse the aisles.
As soon as you enter the store, a sign blocks your path and says, “Not sure what you want? I’ll help.” You gamely go along with it and answer a series of questions like, “What’s your budget? How fast do you want dinner? Do you have any food allergies? Do you have a microwave?” After answering, your dinner selection is dropped in your basket.
It’s a frozen dinner for two.
Disappointed, you think, “Argh! I wanted something fresh. What a waste of time. I’m going to a different store where I can get what I really want.”
Wizards not only frustrate customers, they encourage customers to leave.
So how do you help people make decisions while giving them visibility and control and, at the same time, the options that support both the marketer’s and developer’s goals? Show a comparison that highlights the differences between options.
You can still walk customers through the options and showcase the company-preferred selection, but a comparison approach gives the customer full visibility. It also helps customers feel confident in their choices. Product selection should come from knowledge, not limitation.