Anyone who owns a shop, stall or store, understands how important it is for every customer who walks through those doors to be provided with excellent customer service and the ability to find what they are looking for.
When a customer spends a certain amount of time looking for something they need, and just cannot find it, it can be a frustrating experience – one that, in extreme circumstances, can damage the reputation of your business. Many business owners make customer service and accessibility a top priority for their bricks-and-mortar store – but what about the business’ website?
A website is sometimes the first point of contact a customer has with a business and if that website does not provide a sufficient amount of information it can be just as frustrating as experiencing it in-store. Websites need to provide plenty of information for customers and need to be easy to navigate.
For many businesses, it is about sitting down and really thinking about what potential customers may need to know about the business and the products or services they provide. Below is a list of things a business should consider when creating a website.
It may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many business websites do not have contact information available.
If you are a store that provides products and/or services for customers and you have a physical, bricks and mortar store then it is essential your website provides customers with an address, contact phone number, and (if necessary) email.
Nowadays, many people will use the internet to look up a store and see where they are located or what number they can call. If your website does not provide this information, more than likely, you will lose that customer to a competitor who does.
Additionally, it is a good idea to link your contacts page to Google Maps. Not only does this make it easier for people to find your location but Google Maps is fantastic for Search Engine Optimisation purposes as Google is more likely to list your business in the first 10-20 results if your website is linked to Google Maps.
Just like your physical store, it is essential that you ensure your website is simple and easy to navigate. Think about the most important things your customers may need to know and make these simple and easy to find.
Also, think about the types of customers you may be attracting. If your clientele base is an older target market or a target market where English is their second language, make sure your text and links are a font that is easy to read.
Think about your website design and layout. Ensure there are constants throughout – be sure to include a navigation bar that appears consistently regardless of what page your customer may be on.
Look at your links as well – ensure that if you do include links to other sources that they can be easily identified as a link. Also, make sure that the link opens a new page rather than navigating away from your website. Not only will this help with the amount of time people spend on your website, but it will also help your customer when they need to navigate back to your page.
How hard is your website making visitors ‘work’ to find exactly what they need? If a visitor wants to find information on a particular product or service your business provides, how many clicks do they have to make before they have navigated themselves to the correct page?
Many people are time-poor, now, and if you make it too hard to find what they are looking for, more often than not, you will lose them to a website where information is easily and readily available. It is all about making it as easy as possible to find information on your website.
It is extremely important for all businesses to provide as much help as possible to every customer who walks through their doors. This type of customer service should also translate through your website.
If a visitor cannot find what they are looking for or have merely visited your website purely to have a question answered, it is essential that they can find help on your webpage.
Whether it be a customer service phone number, email address, or FAQ page, providing as much help as possible will not only ensure your customer leaves your website happy but also will help you start creating positive relationships with clients that can generate good sales leads.
Think about your customers when you are creating a website and make a plan before you start designing. Take your website design as seriously as you took the design of your store, and really think about what your customers will want to get out of your site.
Test out your website on a few people first, take their feedback into careful consideration, and make changes accordingly. Also, remember that today a website shouldn’t be static. You should be updating your website regularly to match the changes being made in ‘the real world’.