Well, as its Valentine’s Day, I thought I should write something about lurve. How much do your customers LOVE your website? Maybe a little, maybe a lot – do you really know? Internet interaction can be short and sweet leading to a long and loyal relationship. Alternatively it can be a frustrating unfulfilling experience where customer and website part company sharpish!
One of the problems I have seen time and time again is business owners being so close to what they do and so familiar with their own website – they completely miss how their customers and potential customers may view or experience the site. How many MDs actually complete the checkout process on their own website for example? Below I have highlighted a few things to think about in terms of customer experience:
Set the mood – with the right language
Is your content pitched correctly to the audience you want to appeal to? Are you using language they understand and will engage with? Here are my top tips:
- Don’t confuse your audience with jargon or industry terminology that only you will understand as an expert in your field.
- Do some research on your target audience and what the layman will understand and respond to.
- Write a few different elevator pitches with different tones and then ask your peers, friends, family and social media network for feedback. This can be very useful as often writing for your own business can be hard.
Send out the right messages
This relates to not only the content on your website but the interaction between you and your customer. So think about these questions:
- Is the messaging right on your website?
- Do you have a clear objective of what you want your visitor to do? And do you guide them to it?
- How do you deal with customer complaints?
- Do you check up on how your customer feels about their latest experience or purchase?
- Do you make them feel valued and heard?
- Do you listen?
Having made these points – don’t go too far the other way and stalk your customers with relentless emails and calls – scaring them into restraining orders or relocation. Nothing is a bigger turn off than desperate and constant communication (also known as spam!)
Keep the passion alive
I have experienced good and bad with this – some companies’ value long standing clients or customers and are sure to make them feel loved with discounts or some other benefit.
Others sadly, are so busy chasing new exciting flirtations that they leave their loyal brand followers adrift. Remember it is easier to convert from an existing relationship than it is to convince a new one.
Usability – how smooth are you?
What does usability mean? Is it functionality? Well yes but it’s also to do with layout, art direction, intuitive navigation, buttons and baskets being where you would expect them to be.
One of the best ways to see how customers use your site is to get some usability testing done. Watch them navigate your site:
- How long does it take them to find what they want?
- Are they getting enough information and guidance to make a decision?
Conversion – Do you score?
There are so many factors involved in conversion rates and these can be influenced outside of your control like: day of the week, weather, season or if the doorbell just rang and distracted the user.
But, you can control is what is on your site: For example:
- Colour can play a major role in conversions – a green checkout button at the bottom right of a product will be seen more easily than a grey one.
- Bulleted and detailed product spec
- Excellent product imagery
- Quick and flawless checkout process
Which brings me on to:
A Loveless checkout
Let me give you an example: I recently went onto a website – a market leader in unusual gifts. I wanted to send a gift to a friend. Now this website (no names mentioned of course!) had great navigation, it was easy to find what I wanted and I added it to the basket no problems – but then at checkout process it all went to pieces. Despite the fact that thousands of people use this site to order gifts:
- There was no option to request the invoice would not be included in the parcel (who wants the gift recipient to see how much you spent on them?)
- There was no option to put a name on the delivery address – so it would go to my friends address but with my name on it!!!
- The images of the gift wrap options were so small – I couldn’t see what I would be getting!
So I ended up having to ring them to change the details and confirm the invoice wouldn’t be in the parcel. It was only that I trusted the brand enough to complete the checkout.
NB: to their credit they have responded to my comments and are talking to their design team.
How many potentials do you lose at the checkout?
These are stats that can easily be checked through analytics. If there is a mass fall out from a certain page you will know where to start looking for the problem. Ask your customer service team what are the main issues that customers call about.
It can be anything from:
- Badly positioned or labelled buttons for the next step
- Ambiguous text causing confusion
- Lack of detail – no shipping costs perhaps
- Voucher code box – people leave the page to go looking for a code.
- Slow loading
- Not enough payment options
- Not enough shipping options
- Too many steps in the process with unnecessary mandatory fields
The example I gave was for an ecommerce site, but brochure and service based sites need to think along the same lines; Are you:
- funnelling your visitors to a conversion page with a clear call to action
- Giving quality information and advice
- Explaining process of your service
Conclusion – Is it LOVE or just a Flight of Fancy?
Consider the points raised in this blog and look at your website through fresh eyes. What improvements can you make to increase your customer engagement and conversion rate?
Please share your best and worst website experiences with us – we would love to hear your stories!