Are You Using Your Website To Communicate Effectively?
The pandemic changed how businesses interact with their customers, particularly regarding communication. As customers have grown used to and have come to expect to find solutions to their problems online, the question is, does your website help or hinder your customers? Here are some steps you can take to ensure your customers have a great user experience.
Customers are More Self-Directed than Ever
The pandemic has shown businesses the importance of letting their customers know what to expect, especially during trying times. The companies that let customers know as much information about their business as possible managed to survive and even thrive during the pandemic. That is everything from hours of operation, lunch specials, and setting expectations of products and services upfront.
It’s also worth noting that customers tend to expect this information on your social media, and they expect your Google My Business listing to be accurate as well. It’s up to you to make sure all of this information is correct.
It’s always important to regularly evaluate your business’ communication processes and determine whether or not your customers can find the answers they are looking for on your website. Here are five steps you should consider implementing.
Make Sure Your Website Supports Your Customers
If your website doesn’t answer the questions your visitors have, they might just look elsewhere. Unfortunately, many businesses still treat their websites as an afterthought. As such, they don’t invest the resources they need to create a user-friendly, fully responsive, informative website that can generate sales and attract leads.
Your website shouldn’t be about you and your taste, it should be about your ideal visitors. It needs to speak to them, answer their questions and concerns, and guide them forward towards the goal you want. That goal could be anything from ordering a product, signing up for an event, donating, or scheduling an appointment. Either way, it’s about them.
When considering the state of your website, the first thing to do is ask if it fulfills its purpose and does what you want it to do. A website designed for an impulse purchase needs to be designed differently than one whose potential clients often take the time to research before they make a purchase. Next, take a look at a competitors’ website and compare what they do right (or wrong) to your own. Take a look at the areas where their website fails, and make sure you have that area covered. Make sure you take the time to spell out your offering in a clear and concise way—if a user is left confused, they will look elsewhere.
Create an FAQ
Your website’s FAQ is the source of knowledge about your services and how your website operates for all intents and purposes. For example, your FAQ could tell visitors where a specific link is on your website, such as how to get support or find specific product information. Ideally, a well-designed website would make it easy for visitors to navigate your site regardless of their technical savviness. Your FAQ helps them find the information they need and serves as a fantastic pre-sales and post-sales tool.
You may want to consider an FAQ for most or every service you offer, depending on how complex things can get.
Offer Live Chat
While an FAQ provides 24-hour support, it is by necessity designed to answer the most common questions, which can be impersonal. There may be times when a person’s question is so unique that your FAQ, a well-developed one, may not provide the answer needed. This is where a live chat function comes in handy. Live chat provides your customers with fast, and most importantly, personalized solutions to their questions. Another benefit of live chat is that it increases engagement and customer satisfaction.
Live Chat is often a fairly expensive addition to a website, but you can always start by encouraging it on Facebook first. Facebook pages can utilize Facebook Messenger for quick questions.
If you want to discuss how to incorporate live chat into your website, definitely reach out to us, as there are a lot of options available.
Answer Your Email
There’s nothing worse than feeling that an email to a business has disappeared into a black hole. Ensure that emails from website inquiries, whether they are from a form or a direct email, get processed and responded to quickly. After all, if someone is online looking for a product or service, they are likely reaching out to you and your competition. At that point, whoever gets back to the customer the quickest might have the advantage.
At the very least, make sure you have an auto-response set up to respond to emails or form submissions. This way, your customer receives a response and doesn’t feel they are being ignored.
Are You Keeping Track of Who Contacts You or Visits Your Site?
The final variable regarding your online communication is following up. Do you have a system in place to follow up on any communication you receive? Are you tracking how many visitors visit your FAQ, or where traffic is spending the most time on your site? This is important because if you see multiple visitors leaving on the same page, then that is an issue you need to address, perhaps even bringing it to the forefront.
Finally, live chats, emails, and forms provide your business with the ability to generate qualified leads. What are qualified leads? Qualified leads are communication from website visitors in which you know their points of interest and can directly communicate with them, providing solutions to their concerns. Potential leads are more likely to convert if you show them how your services can solve their business problems. This is why you must track and follow up on the communications you receive to respond with information that is relevant to their needs.
Effective Communication Allows You to Manage Your Customers’ Expectations
As customers become savvier, they know they no longer have to settle for a poor customer experience. They can find the answer themselves; or less ideally, they can visit your competitor’s website who may provide the answer to their questions. Before the pandemic, it was common for a potential customer to see a business in person to inquire. However, people have changed their behaviors due to social distancing and now use online communication as their primary communication tool.
Your website performs multiple functions; the days of having a website as just a shingle to hang on the Internet are decades behind us. Today’s website is now your primary communication tool, and with planning and continuous content, it can also be your primary marketing and sales tool.
If you find you’re missing emails, or even just receiving emails asking the same questions over and over, Directive can help your business develop its communication skills. Our web developers can design your website to get your message across and provide customers with the information they need to make an informed decision.
Finally, keep in mind that as you increase your online presence, you also increase your exposure to bad actors and threats to your data due to a variety of threats, including ransomware. The best way to protect your data is to ensure that your website and email client are secure, encrypted, and protected against spam and follow best cybersecurity practices. Call 607.433.2200 today to learn more about cybersecurity protections for businesses like yours.