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Best practices

Is your website providing bad customer service?

Is your website providing bad customer service?

One bad encounter can have a major impact on your revenue, which is why all businesses should invest heavily in a customer service solution. Without a focus on customer service, not only do unhappy customers refuse to return, they often tell other people about the experience. In a social media era, that word-of-mouth can spread quickly, permanently damaging a company’s reputation.

But one area a business often overlooks when auditing its customer service practices is its online presence. Since most consumers conduct online research before making buying decisions, a business’s website usually serves as the first impression someone gets of a business’s products or services. As user experience becomes a top priority for companies of all sizes and types, those who fail to pay attention to it will quickly fall behind.

Mobile first
In case you’ve missed the memo, desktop web surfing is now classified as a secondary touchpoint for a large percentage of the population. That means if your website is optimized for desktop only, your customers aren’t getting the best possible experience. In addition to the issues with improper displays, experts point out that websites that aren’t designed for mobile will be destined for Google penalties, meaning customers won’t even be able to find them in the first place.

Simple navigation
The top priority in any site design should be navigability. If customers can’t easily find the information they need, they’re likely to go elsewhere. Learn as much as possible about the visitors coming to your site. What type of information are they seeking? If you run a local B2C shop, you may find that they’re most interested in determining your location and operating hours. If you provide services to business clients, make sure you have the most essential information on those services easily accessible from your landing page.

When businesses consider accessibility, they often think first of the regulations governing whether those with disabilities can access their information. Even if your business isn’t required under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide accessibility to everyone, it’s important to consider it in your design. Small adjustments like HTML tags and image descriptions can ensure visually-impaired customers can learn more about your products or services. If this means even a few customers buy from you rather than your competitors, those are a few customers you wouldn’t have otherwise had. “Including a privacy policy on your website can prove useful when certain disabled persons use your website. A privacy policy sets parameters for what a person can expect from your website,” says Justin Morgan, a marketing coach.

Customer assistance
Some businesses seem to make customer assistance a challenging game. From providing help only through an online ticketing system to confusing phone trees that dump every caller into a voicemail system, these companies are asking for bad reviews. The best way to keep customer experiences positive is to provide support through multiple channels. They should be able to email, place a ticket, call, or get help through social media platforms like Twitter. You may find that by providing live support through a chatbot on your website, you can keep your customers happy at minimal expense.

Load times
Even if you’ve created a positive user experience in every other way, you’ll still find customers exit without taking action because of your load times. Not only will a slow-loading page harm your business’s search engine placement, but it will also frustrate your site visitors, who don’t have time to wait. Look at factors that could be slowing your website down, including unoptimized images, excess META tags, and issues with your hosting services. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to spot issues that could be slowing your site down.

Incite action
The goal of your website is to convince customers to take an action. Yet many businesses fail to push customers in that direction. If you sell products, encourage customers to buy with special discounts and featured products. If your focus is on services, invite them to contact you for a free rate quote or more information. Often simply feeling as though they aren’t under any pressure to buy will convince customers to move to the next step. Even if it’s something as small as encouraging them to follow you on social media, each page should in some way be enticing customers to convert.

A good website can make the difference between winning or losing a customer. By thinking through the experience a customer has when visiting, businesses can create a friendly, search engine-friendly web presence that helps them achieve their goals.


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