“In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away,” – Doug Warner
A customer-focused website is designed to allow the consumer to voice his or her concerns, feedback, and suggestions. This is an important metric when evaluating the design and architecture of a website because it enables two-way communication between the business enterprise and its many customers. The modern commercial enterprise can use all the information and feedback to validate its existence; an important source of such information lies in the feedback that a customer can offer in a bid to share his or her impressions. An open platform can be designed into the website in the form of a customer feedback page, or a brief questionnaire that interrogates visitors regarding their experience on the website. In addition, the company’s Internet presence can also bear links to its various handles on social media platforms; these links enable the customers to transmit their opinions and voices through social media. In essence, this attitude helps the business enterprise to create a customer-friendly image that can help it to enhance and grow its business reputation. We must bear in mind that a customer-focused website can also indicate the company’s seriousness of intent in terms of inviting and assessing customer feedback.
An intelligently designed customer focused website should prioritise the sharing of business information. For instance, the content on the website can highlight the benefits of using its products and services. The website should convey the tangible gains that accrue to the customer; such commercial messages should be accompanied by product views and customer testimonials. These actions can help to direct the entire end-user experience to a successful conclusion and may result in positive business outcomes. Products and services should be graded and segmented in tune with customer demography and preferences. The web design and navigation protocols should enable such segmentation. We could say that the online content, graphics, images, and navigation should guide the customer smoothly to arrive at the desired information. The outcomes of such design can include higher numbers of digital footfalls, customer recommendations, and greater interest in the website. In addition, the business should pose online questions designed to decipher the customer’s experience, encourage the sharing of feedback, and perhaps offer a points-based rating system to assess the end-user experience.
A customer-focused website should also make efforts to connect with the customer in terms of real world experience. Consider this: a retail chain that operates across multiple regions through brick-and-mortar shopping establishments can use its website to solicit customer feedback. This can be achieved by including the website address on the customer’s bill of receipt and by including a personal request to the customer to visit the corporate website. We could say that the said business enterprise is attempting to bridge the offline world and the online domain in an engineered attempt to harvest customer feedback. The customer could spend time perusing the said website and keying in his feedback, the high points of his experience at the retail destination, his queries, concerns, and suggestions. Such actions can be accomplished in the comfort of the customer’s home or using connected mobile devices. We note that every customer that undertakes these actions helps to inform the business enterprise about the customer’s thoughts and therefore imparts direction to the future developments in the business enterprise.
Further, a business may also attempt to retain and build customer interest by providing engaging content on its website. Great content has huge potential to bring back customers to a company’s Internet presence, thereby building mind share among customers. We must note that the content need not be directly connected to the said business enterprise; it can include great pieces of literature, outstanding photographs and images, pieces of digital music, notable instances of graphic art, a quiz for young customers, top rated customer testimonials, and general business news about the said enterprise. Regular updates to such content can convert occasional online visitors to regular business customers. However, the business should take care to update regularly, content in an attempt to capture the customer’s continued interest. The growing number of digital footfalls can help the enterprise to inform the customer’s mindscape, while relaying additional information about new and upgraded products and services. These actions can add up to an active, on-going dialogue between the customers and the business enterprise, and can work wonders for the commercial fortunes of the business.
Great web design can also be considered crucial for a customer-focused website. The business enterprise should employ top talent to design its website and its back-end mechanics. Every web-link should be validated and custom design templates can be used to create pleasing aesthetics. The corporate enterprise should take pride in its online presence; this demands that the website must be continuously monitored and evaluated on technical and functional parameters. This will create an indelible impression on the minds of all visitors. Design awards should be featured prominently on the front page of the website because these announce a stellar browsing experience to online visitors. The search field should be all-powerful on the website because customers use this field to navigate to the desired information. We could say that the search engine should be the beating heart of the website and should boast superior functionality. Further, responsive design and an optimal viewing experience should be guaranteed on both desktop and mobile platforms. To summarize, the website should be feted as a brand ambassador of the business enterprise.
Offering customers an opportunity to blog can be a great idea for a customer focused website. This can encourage customers to sign up for the said activity and speak their minds on a variety of topics. This is a clear instance of content generated by the customer and a great example of fostering a sense of community among online visitors. Such a sense of community is akin to creating an online discussion board (or an online forum); the content thus generated can be mined for significant information from customers. However, businesses would do well to hire a full time online regulator and moderator to monitor such activities, curate the best of such content, and flush out undesirable content. Chatbots can be featured on the website in an attempt to answer customer queries at any time of the day, at the customer’s convenience. Therefore, modern online technologies can be leveraged to fashion an outstanding customer service experience through corporate websites.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the various tools and techniques that can be leveraged by a business in its pursuit to create a customer focused website. We have to note that the enterprise should make the customer central in its efforts to conduct business. This attitude will then reflect in every sphere of business activity and may become second nature to all the moving parts that comprise the enterprise. The customer should ideally dominate the business landscape and this should reflect in the customer focused website at all times. The thoughts and impulses that precede the design of such websites should be nurtured with fresh information, customer feedback, and the latest trends that grace the online domain. It seems obvious then, that a company must do whatever it can to attract and retain customers – a good start would be a customer-focused website.