creating a customer
Developing a website can be a little daunting - and it can
be even more daunting trying to put yourself firmly in the
shoes of those you wish to visit and use your site.
It’s often the one thing people developing a website
neglect to do.
Keeping your website visitor or customer friendly is one
of the best ways of developing customer loyalty. And customer
loyalty is one of the most important challenges facing business
today with fierce competition. Growing market share is hard,
keeping it is harder.
So, when you develop (or indeed redevelop) your site, just
about the biggest mistake you can make is thinking only about
your organisation and your business needs and not the customer
and their needs.
For example, customers usually just want the product, service
or information - they often don’t care how your organisation
is structured. And they certainly don’t want to have
to search for the right business area to find the product!
There are several keys to creating a customer friendly website:
first, listen to your customers and learn from what they say.
This will mean you have to be prepared to act on what you
learn and change your mind about how it should be built in
the first place or make changes to the site. It may also mean
personalising your site.
add value. If you are a florist, this added value may be the
convenience of ordering on line, being able to see examples
of what you might be sending and offering a birthday reminder
list; if you are a supermarket, again convenience is added
value but you might also include recipes and on-line shopping
lists people can work from.
enable two way dialogue. This may be as simple as making sure
your site has all contact details and an email response form.
It may also mean a chat room.
ensure the technology used to build your site doesn’t
take too long to load. There are lots and lots of flashy software
programmes out there which can make your site look fantastic.
But just make sure your site doesn’t take several minutes
to load. Customers on-line won’t wait for the site,
they will go elsewhere and probably won’t come back.
If you do want movement, you can achieve similar effects with
simpler technology which won’t slow the site down too
show your organisation’s brand values and personality
clearly. Your customer has to be able to see at a glance what
you do, understand your attitude to service and the importance
you place on your customers - they need to gain an instant
impression of you.
keep the site updated and refreshed. How many times have you
been to a site recently and it still says ‘happy new
year’ or, worse still, ‘merry Christmas’
! Customers want to feel you are interested enough in them
to keep up to the minute information and products with accurate
pricing on the site. It is better NOT to include seasonal
greetings and other items which become out dated if you know
you are not going to be able to keep the site up to the mark.
enough links to lead the customer through your site easily.
Visitors don’t want to have to click their way up and
down the screen looking for ways to easily get to other pages.
Clear text and page links are essential to easy navigation
- but NOT too many of them.
transactions easy, reliable and secure, leaving no room for
mistakes and confusion.
Not only will these things help create a friendly site but
they will also help develop customer loyalty. Of course, you
also have to deliver what you promise and fulfil the expectations
your site has created - only you can do that!
Written by Anna Hamilton, Oryx Technologies.