Is Your Website Costing You Customers?
Most businesses know that their customers remember bad experiences much more than good experiences. This truth also applies to customers visiting a business’ website. You can test this yourself by answering the following questions:
1. When was the last time a website left a lasting positive impression on you?
2. And when was the last time you were frustrated by a website?
Most people struggle to think of a positive experience, but can easily recall a negative experience from the last few days. When we as customers access a business’ website, we usually have some specific questions in mind like:
- Does this business provide the services I’m looking for in my area?
- What is the business’ address or contact information?
- What are the hours of operation?
If the information we’re looking for is difficult to find, or worse not on the website at all, we get frustrated and may seek alternatives. Here are a few common ways a business’ website can be an obstacle between the customer and the information they’re looking for:
- Not having contact information on all pages - If a customer comes to the website looking to get in touch, they have to go searching for the information.
- Not having a mobile-friendly site - Increasingly, customers are using their smartphones to browse the web. If a website is difficult to navigate on one of these devices, the customer has a negative experience, and may turn to alternative businesses out of frustration.
- Having a flash website - Flash websites don’t load at all on most mobile and tablet devices. As these devices rise in popularity, that’s a growing percentage of customers who won’t be able to access your website.
How can you tell if your website is providing a good experience for your customers? An easy way to start is by having friends try accessing your website from different devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Task them with going through your site as if they were a potential customer landing there and shopping around for your products/services. Give them these instructions:
1. Use the website as if it were any business website, not their friend’s.
2. Look for information that would help them decide on whether or not to use your business (location, hours of operation, services, etc...)
3. Once deciding to use your business, have them take the next step and contact you just as a real customer would.
Ask them to be brutally honest about their experience. It’s better to hear bad news from a friend than have silent frustrated customers abandon your business.
Once you’ve identified some areas of improvement for your website, there’s no need to wait and address them all at once. In the world of website development, it’s almost always best to make incremental improvements over time, rather than bundling things up into one large redesign. Put a plan together that prioritizes improvements you want to make and start tackling the list one item at a time.
One final thing to remember is the internet changes rapidly, and so do people’s expectations. Try to run through this process once per year to make sure your website continues to deliver a positive experience to your customers!
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