Ensuring Company Website is Customer-Focused

“Customer focus is about hard edged business. Customers are hugely impatient on the web. They don’t need to hang around a website that is not directly focused on them,” – Gerry McGovern

Websites, micro-sites, and social media handles are common addresses in the cyber world that can be profitably leveraged by businesses to create and maintain a corporate identity. Every corporate enterprise that maintains an online presence should work to ensure that the company website is customer-focused. A clean, user-friendly approach to website design should be the hallmark of a company website. Website navigation should ideally be smooth and intuitive so as to enable customers to arrive at the information they are seeking. We may note that the corporate website should be emblematic of the business. Therefore, website designers should steer clear of cramming too many links or too much information on company websites because these can distract from the overall customer experience. These actions should issue from the belief that customers remain the number one asset of a business. Every action of the business enterprise should be undertaken in the interest of the customer, to strengthen the customer’s agenda, and to reaffirm corporate goals that hinge on customers’ eventual success.

Consider this: a software designer and manufacturer that markets a variety of business and consumer-oriented software should operate a dedicated product support website. This website may not denote the flagship web presence of the manufacturer, but should be treated as an important address designed to support the customer. The business enterprise should spur customer convenience by imprinting the address of the product support website on all its products, packaging, compact discs, and marketing collateral. In doing so, the business is ensuring that the company website is customer-focused and announcing to the world the seriousness of its intent to service every customer. The product support website should ideally spell out all the support mechanisms and other details for the benefit of software users.

A sharp customer focus also means that the corporate enterprise uses its website to invite dialogues from every customer. This implies that a custom field can be designed and embedded on the website; this approach to starting a dialogue means that any visitor to the website can offer his or her feedback, concerns, suggestions, queries, and complaints. This approach to an open customer dialogue is a clear signal that the company website is customer-focused. To reinforce its customer-friendly image, the company’s website designers should focus on creating simplified menus for the benefit of customers. A simplified menu invites customers to browse easily and peruse the various wares on display. Product images and specifications should be optimally placed; rollovers should trigger a larger image on the screen that invite the customer to take a closer look at the product. In addition, product prices and discounts (if available) should be displayed clearly in the interests of providing the customer every bit of relevant information. We must note that a search bar should automatically follow as the customer moves from one page of the website to the next.

Responsive design is a clear indication that a company website is customer-focused. This approach to website design implies that a website can be viewed optimally on any customer device: connected tablet, smartphone, or desktop. The website should be equipped to detect the device and accordingly offer the best solution to the customer. This design philosophy is mandatory in a connected world where every customer is inclined to use mobile devices and desktop machines in the course of surfing activities. In addition, market trends indicate that more and more customers are surfing the mobile Internet on connected devices; therefore, the mobile version of the company website should be tuned to perfection. Companies should also invest in adequate back-end infrastructure so that websites are able to handle heavy volumes of traffic. This is especially true for e-commerce operators because their websites and mobile apps represent the primary means of conducting business.

Corporate websites would be well advised to enable clients and customers to share information directly from the website. Consider this: an online visitor should be easily able to use the company website to transmit product details and product photos to his or her email contacts or social media friends. The sharing process should also include text messaging protocols. These mechanisms should be flawless and may help to expand the customer base of the said business. Customers that undertake such activities on a company website may be offered some free shopping points as an incentive. We could say that easy sharing of merchandise information indicates that the company website is customer-focused.

Businesses that are interested to operate over the long terms must periodically re-invent their websites. A total overhaul of the mechanics, back-end infrastructure, and look-and-feel of the website should help the business to retain customers and attract new clients. Business values, logos, and ethos need to be constant entities but all other aspects of the website should be intelligently overhauled. This approach can signal the message that the company website is customer-focused and yet remains wedded to the idea of innovation and change. The website designers and senior management personnel should collectively brainstorm the re-invention of the company website. Familiar design themes may be re-interpreted, while content and look-and-feel should be completely overhauled. The business may consider adding new sections to its website in efforts to attain customer delight and in the interests of pleasantly surprising returning customers. In addition, the customer focus should be sharpened in terms of offering more relevant information to all visitors.

Customer satisfaction remains an important operating metric in every business. Therefore, businesses must utilise their websites to harvest customer satisfaction information. Customers and clients may be polled to register their satisfaction (or lack thereof) at the end of every transaction or website browsing session. Overly complex layouts should be dispensed with; instead a simple format should be deployed to gauge customer satisfaction. This action should signal corporate intent to register the voice of every customer and indicates that the company website is customer-focused. Every strand of such information can be individually assessed to read the mind of the customer and the resulting insights can be used to boost business practices and processes. We note that the translation of such insights into business realities can help the business enterprise to gain a competitive edge among its peers.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various means that can help a business enterprise to signal that its company website is customer-focused. A sharp focus on serving the customer can help a website to stand apart in a competitive market. The website can be said to be a brand ambassador that embodies the many values that underlie a business. Therefore, websites should always be a competent embodiment of a business enterprise. Website designers should leave no gaps in design and project execution because any faux pas can reflect badly on the business enterprise. Further, businesses of every hue, whether brick-and-mortar or online, should constantly monitor website statistics to gauge the pulse of the customer and to gain a first-hand experience of current market trends. We could say that the website is an extension of the business in cyberspace and deserves to be treated as such.


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