How to build a website that improves customer service.
Your website is the primary touchpoint for delivering information about your business and interacting with your customers. It sets the tone for your branding, customer service and sales, so it’s imperative to take the customer perspective into account when designing it. Here are some concrete steps to creating a website that wins over the hearts and minds of consumers and has a positive impact on your bottom line.
1. SIMPLE. MOBILE. PERSONAL. (THIS IS YOUR NEW MANTRA)
The revolution in technology has resulted in consumerization which can be defined as the expectation among consumers that every product should be customizable to their specific interests. This trend now extends to enterprise products, as well. B2B brands aren’t known for delivering the most user-friendly experiences, but they’re under increasing pressure to create a user experience as slick and seamless as any consumer tech platform.
- Make it Simple: The best way to sell your products or services online is to make the purchase process as simple as possible. Overwhelming users with too much information is counter-productive. If you take the time to understand your customer’s decision-making process, you can weave that knowledge into the site’s UX and visual design, making it easier for your customer to go from consideration to purchase. The less friction for the customer, the more sales opportunities you’ll have. Example: www.zendesk.com
- Make It Mobile: The “always on” world we live in comes with the expectation that customers will be able to access your website anytime, anywhere, from any device, and that the experience will be delightful and easy to navigate whether it happens on a desktop computer or a mobile phone. Your website absolutely must be optimized for users on the go who are engaging with you via their mobile device.
- Make It Personal: The best way to build brand equity with consumers is to deliver a customized experience for each of them—one that makes them feel seen and cared for. Building personalization features into your website is vital for fostering long-term relationships with customers. Example: www.salesforce.com
2. GOOD DESIGN IS MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE
There’s a proven design principle, called the Aesthetic Usability Effect, which states that when something looks good, people believe it’s also easier to use and delivers more value. That phenomenon applies to customers visiting your website. The more aesthetically pleasing the design, the more customers will believe that your brand and products are better, and more effective than the competition.
Apple products are the perfect example of Aesthetic Usability Effect in action. There are other devices on the market that have more impressive technical specs, but Macbooks, iPhones and iPads all look great and feel great to use, and it’s resulted in Apple becoming the largest device company in history.
What if people felt the same way about your website?
89% Of B2B Marketers say brand awareness is their top goal, followed by sales and lead generation
3. YOUR BRAND CHANGED. BUT YOUR WEBSITE DIDN’T GET THE MEMO…
It’s not uncommon to see a brand redesign happen independent of a website redesign, which is disorienting for customers.
First impressions about your brand count. In fact, first impressions are 94% design related. Imagine the disconnect your users experience when the brand expression on your website is different then the brand expression they see in print, broadcast, or traditional media.
Your website and your brand collateral don’t need to be identical, but they do need to look like they all came from the same semi-cohesive brand family.
88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
4. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
Back in the ancient days of the web (mid-90s), there was an expression that got used quite a bit— “Your website is your brand.”
As much as digital technology has changed, that phrase still applies. The quality of the digital experience you offer your customers will have a significant impact on how they perceive your brand, your products, and your company.
“Our brand values include confusion, frustration and negative emotions” said no one ever. Yet a quick trip online seems to tell a different story. Confusing site navigation. Poorly designed layouts. Pages and pages of text-heavy information that would make the average user want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Or more likely, visit a competitor’s site.
Yes. That expression is still valid. But it goes farther than that today. Your website is not just your brand, it’s also one of the most obvious and accessible ways for you to create a clear and obvious competitive advantage. When your site and your brand are optimized and integrated into a cohesive and compelling visual design, supported by a thoughtful user experience, you’re ready to take on the world.
52.2% traffic as a share of global online traffic in 2017
5. MOBILE IS REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS
A responsive, mobile-friendly website is no longer a “nice to have” feature—it’s a business necessity. With nearly 90% of the world’s population on the mobile web, the ability to reach, convert, and retain customers on the go is the difference between success and failure for many brands.
Ninety-six percent of consumers report they regularly turn to their mobile device when they need something—information, entertainment, products, or services. Each one of these “micro-moments” is an opportunity to engage with a customer in need and position your brand as their hero.
A responsive version of your corporate website won’t cut it. Effective executions optimize content, features, and functionality for mobile user behavior. Fifty-two percent of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company.
223% Average ROI for conversion rate optimization
CONCLUSION—IT’S ALL ABOUT CONVERTING BROWSERS INTO BUYERS
Company websites exist to sell products and services, either directly via ecommerce, or indirectly by providing information designed to move the user closer to a purchase decision.
Moving the customer along that journey can be counterintuitive, however. Marketing teams often want to present users with as much information as possible, but this can overwhelm visitors and cause decision paralysis, a phenomenon known as the Paradox of Choice.
Effective site conversion is about dialing in the balance between too little and too much information based on the unique needs of your target customers.
Creating an aesthetically pleasing website that’s aligned with your branding, optimized for mobile and easy for customers to navigate is a large undertaking. It involves numerous stakeholders and satisfying the demands of nearly every department in the organization.
Perhaps that’s exactly why your company has put off redesigning your website for so long? If any of the missteps listed above seemed familiar to you, know that conducting a redesign is more than just a vanity project—it has the potential to completely transform your business for the better.