Are you building a customer centric website?

Filed in Online Marketing by on August 27, 2017

How can I create a website?

No matter how customer focused your organisation is, it can be easy to lose this focus when it comes to developing a new website. Far too often the website planning process becomes the sole prerogative of the marketing team and excludes those that know the most about the company’s customers and their needs: sales and customer service. It’s also tempting to concentrate on brainstorming ideas for technical features and at the expense of giving adequate thought to the customer journey and how that experience could be made better.

Most website briefs consist of the following:

1. What we want to say on our website
2. How we want our website to be branded
3. How our website content should be structured
4. What other websites we’d like it to look like

These are, of course, all commonsense steps to defining your website needs. However, where is the customer in all of this?

Some web developers make a living from giving clients exactly what they ask for. So, if you ask for a list of features without explaining why you think they’re required, you may not get the guidance and ideas you need. Defining your customers’ needs and challenges should be key to the process. If you don’t put your own customers first, your partners aren’t going to either.

Here are five website planning points to consider when you’re defining the requirements for your new website:

Involve your sales and customer services teams
Your website is a key part of your customer’s journey. There may be reasons for your customers to visit your website before their decision to buy, during the sales process and afterward. Your customer-facing team members can help identify what these reasons are and so help you ensure that your website structure, content and services appeal and help satisfy those needs. Self-service is fast becoming the new customer service and so your website can play an important role in enhancing customer experience.

Differentiate between what your customers want to see and what you want to sell them
There’s no point focusing on your latest offering or business initiative and ignoring the offering that most of your customers want to buy. That just results in less traffic, less time spent on your site and you may actually be a cause of customer frustration. Your website needs to appeal to both your typical customer and your ideal customer.

What are your customers Googling?
Visits referred by search engines are vital to any commercial website these days. Your company may have its own brands and lexicon to explain your offering, but your brand names and key phrases may not be what your audience is searching for. Making sure that your site uses common concepts and phrases can both help you gain valuable search traffic and ensure your content resonates with customers.

Is your site navigation as helpful as it should be?
Does your site page plan have to mimic your company structure or could it be more tuned-in to how your key audiences use your website? Many customers buy products or services as a result of a common customer situation, business process or industry practice. A website with a structure and menu system that makes it easy to find and drill down into those specifics, will encourage more engagement.

There are no second languages
If you’re creating a multilingual website, make sure that the experience for customers is of an equally high standard in your additional language(s). You may not always be able to provide all the information or services in a second language that you would like to, but you can make sure that all the information and services that you do provide are of a similarly high standard.

There are many aspects of web development that you will need advice, guidance and digital expertise. However, your team know your customers best and are well placed to play a key role in defining how your new website can serve those customers. Don’t get hung up on vendor questionnaires that focus on technical requirements and miss opportunities to make your site more customer centric.

Need some help planning your new website? Feel free to mail me at carringtonm@spotonpr.com.

Read more about content

Could your brand commit a content crime? (November 2013)

Create more compelling content (September 2013)

The problem with content (August 2013)

Time to revisit your brand positioning? (July 2013)

Are you being genuine? (May 2013)

 

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Carrington Malin

About the Author ()

Carrington Malin is co-founder of Spot On and has been managing sales, marketing, media and communications campaigns across the Middle East for more than 20 years. He likes technology, surfing and chicken liver salad. You can contact Carrington via Twitter at @carringtonmalin or via email at carringtonm(at)spotonpr(dot)com

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