On a fundamental level, every business succeeds or fails based on its ability to anticipate and satisfy the needs of its customers. Unfortunately, many companies stray from this maxim, and nowhere is this failing more apparent than in the proliferation of business-centered websites. Surf the Internet and you’re sure to find business websites that flagrantly annoy the folks who pay the bills —customers and clients — all the while touting a company’s industry awards, management staff, and plans for market domination.
A customer-centered website, on the other hand, engages visitors. It provides real solutions. It establishes rapport, holding the attention of potential clients by focusing text and graphics on their needs and wants. To ensure your website is geared toward customers, ask the following six questions:
- Will customers benefit from visiting this website? It’s great that you’ve won awards and sales are climbing, but how does that information help potential customers? Tie those awards to product quality. Link sales data to testimonials of satisfied purchasers. Present clear and concise product descriptions, photos and videos, and biographies of key personnel to encourage trust in your company and its products.
- Is the site easy to navigate? The website should be clearly organized. If visitors become frustrated trying to journey from one page to another, they’ll leave. Pages should be laid out with plainly named categories and every page should contain links to every other page.
- Does it look professional? Nothing presents a bad impression more quickly than spelling and grammar mistakes. Did you use “their” when you really meant “they’re”? Are your sentences awkwardly worded or confusing? If so, ask other writers to proofread your text before it’s published on the Internet.
- Can your products be purchased easily? Does it take a graduate degree in computer science and the patience of Job to download a file from your website? Or can customers, with a few clicks, order your products or get more information?
- Do you provide online support? Be sure to offer clearly written answers to common questions (FAQs) and an e-mail address or phone number for contacting your customer service team.
- Can they give feedback? Don’t avoid customer opinions — relish them. Give visitors a way to discuss your website and the products and services you’re providing. Respond quickly and courteously and take their suggestions to heart.
Remember, customers are the engine of your business. Treat them well.