- Mar 24, 2018
- Posted by: Claire
- Category: Customer Service, Customer Service Strategy, For Small Business Owners, Online Marketing, Site Traffic, Web Content, Web Design
About half the world’s population buy goods on the internet, instead of buying traditionally, in-store.
In fact, according to Statista, a whopping 1.66 billion people bought online in 2017.
With that many sales and counting, you better be equipped not only to make sales on your website, but to service your customers too…
And providing great customer service online is a whole different kettle of fish than it is offline.
Just as you would a customer service rep in a brick and mortar building, you need to equip your website to do it’s job; to act as the representative of your business.
This article gives you a basic understanding of what elements you need to address on your website to provide a positive customer experience, so that the people who buy from you will buy again.
#1: Does your website load quickly?
I’ve walked out of stores or queues where I needed to wait before being served.
I’m pretty sure you have too.
Because information on the Internet is available at the speed of a click, there’s an even greater chance that your visitor will simply click away if they need to wait for your website to load.
“If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.” This from Kissmetrics about why loading time matters.
There’s just too much competition out there for you to take this lightly.
If your site is slow, not only will you lose potential customers who get impatient waiting, but search engines also measure your website’s credibility based on it’s speed.
Crazyegg offers tips to jack up website speed.
#2: Is your website easy to find?
My computer crashed yesterday. In a panic, I drove around my new neighborhood searching for computer repair shops. Thankfully I found one, but had they not had good signage, I would not have. If they weren’t close to a main road, I would also not have found them.
In the same way, when a user searches for what you offer, they must be able to find your site easily.
Digitally speaking, this is not as simple as having good signage in front of your brick and mortar store. Unlike just needing to make sure you’ve got a good sign outside your building, in the case of your website, well, you’re at the mercy of search engines…(although you can do stuff to make sure search engines “like” your site more than your competitors).
And here’s the thing: 44% of online shoppers begin their online shopping journey by using a search engine.
Basically speaking, if you want more website traffic, your top priority is to be listed on the first results page when your potential customers search for your offer via search engines. To do this, you need to:
- Make it easy for search engines to find you
- Make search engines consider your site as an authority website
This 3-tip slideshow on how to get more customers helps beginner marketers quickly understand the most basic secrets of how to start making a website easier to find.
#3: Is your website easy to navigate?
Does your website help visitors find what they’re looking for? You’ve got to make it easy for visitors to use your website.
Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes – when they first land on your home page, or any of your pages, will they know within seconds, how you can help them, and what it is you do?
Have you made it easy for them to find things? Easy to stay on your site and find what they are looking for?
#4: Does your website tell your visitor exactly how you can help them as soon as they arrive?
A big part of customer satisfaction is making it easy for people to do business with you. Visitors don’t want to have to search for how you can help them.
Your website has to tell users within seconds of their arrival, how you can help them.
To do this, make sure you invest in a good quality copywriter to write your website copy.
#5: Is it easy for visitors to contact you, and get a response back?
Like most websites, I have a contact page on my website. It allows the user to contact me via a web form, or to email me.
Now my website is no different to anybody’s else’s (in that we all have contact forms, right?), but here’s the difference: many websites, and the majority in South Africa, do not respond to queries from their websites!
If you put a contact form on your website, make sure you respond fast. I have contacted many website owners via their web contact form, and never heard back from them. This is the most basic form of contact online peeps! If you have a contact form on your website, make sure you’re getting the emails generated from it, and that someone is responsible for handling the responses. Otherwise, rather leave the contact form off!
It’s important to test that the form works, and that the email that gets sent with the visitor’s request for contact, goes to someone in your company who is reliable and who acts with speed.
People don’t like to wait. If your visitors find competitor websites who contact them before you, you can just about kiss that sale goodbye. The early bird catches the worm and all that…
But the most beneficial way of connecting with my visitors has been through a client engaging platform.
It works because the pop-up makes it super easy for people to contact me – they don’t even have to look for a contact page because the form pops up on each page.
It also contains a picture of my face so that my visitors know who they are dealing with, making the customer experience more personal.
#6: Is your website mobile friendly?
If your website is not mobile friendly, it will negatively impact your search engine ranking (actually, your web site won’t be featured on search results at all), as well as seriously detract from the customer experience, because according to statistics, in 2014, mobile usage took over from desktop, so most of your traffic is going to be from mobile devices.
Check if your website is mobile friendly.
#7: Does your website contain proof that your customers trust you?
There is no way visitors are going to buy from you if they don’t know they can trust you.
People buy from people they trust, and this is more so online, where they can’t see the people behind the websites they buy from.
Online, people are not likely to buy from your website the first time they visit. Instead, buyers go through various phases, called the Buying Funnel. Its important to know these stages, so that your marketing is adapted for them, and you can “catch” them in each stage via your marketing efforts.
The stages people go through before they make a buying decision include:
Image Credit: CustomerJourneyMarketer
- Recognition of need – they have to recognise their need for the service or product.
- The search for solutions – most people first search for solutions via print, Internet, word of mouth, etc.
- Evaluation – at this stage, they evaluate the options they’ve collected from their research.
- Purchase decision – just before buying, their decision is influenced by negative feedback and unforeseen circumstances.
How to build trust on your website:
- Tell your visitors how many customers you have.
- Display press mentions and testimonials.
- Add awards.
- Show logos of prominent customers.
- Add years of experience.
- Offer free trials.
- Add social proof.
If you have a WordPress website, try these social proof plugins.
If you sell on your website, make sure you add a security seal to reassure customers that their money details are safe with you.
#8: If you sell products, make sure online customers have all the info they need
Because of the trust element, it’s especially important for virtual buyers to have all the information they need. This includes:
- Product images
- Stock availability
- Delivery options
Note! Potential customers are not going to contact you to ask for this; they would rather click away to another site.
#9: Offer live chat
When live chat was still a novelty, it was the greatest reason I stuck with my web host. Because of their 24 hour live chat service, I knew I could get hold of them anytime I had an issue. For me in South Africa and my web host being in America, this was vital for me.
I’m not alone. 63% of online consumers said they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
It could also make all the difference for your success.
Making your website a great customer service rep is not rocket science, if you know what your customers are looking for.
Most importantly, put yourself in your user’s shoes and make things easy for them.
Have any more ideas that are not listed here? Leave your comment below.