Brittany Ferries : Smartening help
Thoughtful deployment of FAQs assists company and customer.
Brittany Ferries, a France-based passenger ferry operator, changes the help options from page to page of its online booking form.
Brittany Ferries’ online booking is a six-page process from initial choice of route through to payment and confirmation. Each step requires various details such as passenger names and type of vehicle to be entered on screen. At the head of each page is a highlighted panel labelled ‘Need Help?”; this is populated with options to “Ask us a question about…” topics related to the page content (“… Our Online Booking Facility”, “…Onboard Facilities”, “… our Travel Insurance”, etc). The options and the order in which they appear change from page to page to reflect content.
Clicking a ‘Need Help?’ link opens an FAQ page in a smaller secondary window. In addition, ‘Important Information’ boxes are used within pages alongside particular fields; for example, the one with Passenger Details says “Only pets on PETS Passport can travel” and gives a link to more information about taking pets overseas.
Brittany Ferries is employing a smart version of an FAQ feature to maximise the advantages of such an approach to customers and company alike. Not the least of its notable characteristics is the thoroughness of its deployment so that smoothing the process of booking in one area is not undone by simply running aground quicker somewhere else.
Positioning and highlighting of the feature ensure users are aware before they start completing a page that assistance is available, while titling it ‘Need Help?’ rather than the more passive (and not necessarily understood) ‘FAQ’ promotes it effectively. Help options are then geared to questions customers are faced with on the current page, with their presentation in a secondary window ensuring that the booking form can be returned to instantly (and with no fear that leaving the page will cause data already entered to be lost when it reopens). The Important Information boxes are a further sign of the company consciously working the site as a first, self-service port-of-call to reduce the number of enquiries it has to deal with in person and increase the rate of successfully completed bookings.http://www.brittanyferries.com
First published on 04 November, 2008