Your website is often the first experience a customer has of your organisation. A negative experience will tarnish future interactions, driving potential customers into the arms of your competitors. On the other hand, a positive web experience will encourage greater engagement – converting website visitors into paying customers.
A substandard web experience stems from placing the needs of the organisation over the needs of the customer. Omar Akhtar, analyst and managing editor at Altimeter, comments, “…any brand that is hoping to compete on the basis of customer-experience can’t afford to have a sub-standard web experience. And a sub-standard web experience is one that is company-first, instead of customer-first.”
So many businesses view the creation of their website primarily as a branding exercise. More concerned about the look and feel and what it says about the company rather than addressing the questions or the needs of the visitors coming to their site.
Designing a customer first website
Akhtar highlights in the report, Creating a Customer-First Web Experience, five key elements in building a customer first website.
Most websites are designed and built to showcase the company and its products. They are not designed to solve the questions or problems that customers are looking to resolve. A solution focused website anticipates the problem each visitor is trying to solve when they come to the website and serves them the relevant content.
Personalisation plays a significant role in creating web experiences for customers. Providing relevant information that reflects the interests and behaviours of particular customers is vital. It demonstrates a commitment to catering for different needs. Customers expect to be recognised as individuals when they go to websites they’ve been to before.
Your website is not a single standalone touchpoint. Customers don’t care what department they are dealing with. There’s only one brand. It’s critical that their experience, across all channels, remains consistent. This includes tone of voice, branding, imagery and consistent information. Consistency builds consumer trust and recognition.
Minimal seamless navigation. Customers want to do everything online with as little navigation as possible. If they have to click on the logo to return to the homepage and start navigating again this can be costly and disruptive to the exercise.
Use simple straight forward language that customers would use. Avoid jargon and terms not familiar with your customers.
A company branded website can perform all customer facing functions of marketing, sales and service. It can be a powerful tool for your business to engage your customers.