I just took a look at my schedule. Next week I have lunch with Brian DeLaet twice. The problem you see is that I am Brian DeLaet. Two different colleagues have sent me calendar invitations to have lunch with them. The problem is they didn’t think about it from my perspective.
So my calendar now says I’m having lunch with Brian. Not as helpful as I’d like. Now I have to open up the invitation to see who it is that Brian is dining with.
And a lot of businesses treat their customers the same way. They start off with the perspective that if you’ve arrived – either in person or online – then you’re “in” and they skip over foundational parts of the relationship. It becomes all about “us” – the company, rather than being all about “me” – the customer.
We experienced that today with a software company. We received a username and a password for the software we purchased. There was no mention of how or where to use this information. Just the codes. After some not insignificant searching, we discovered that once we had created an account on vendors site, we could use the codes to get access to the software and registration keys. Ooops. No one told us that.
So what is a business to do? Review your process from beginning to end and test it. Make sure it is customer friendly every step of the way. And a lot of businesses take this step. But this is only the first step. Every process gets changed over time. It gets “improved” when a new manager changes one part of the process but when another manager changes a different part of the process, bad things can happen.
What you need to do is build in a continuous review of your process. For example, if you sign up for EduNotes (our newsletter) you’ll likely be told to expect it weekly when in fact it is now only twice a month. Oops. That is a process that we are reviewing (should be fixed by the time you receive this) so that we are creating the correct expectations for people.
Obviously this applies in every aspect of business but here are just a few of the processes you should check on your web site:
- First and foremost, the sales funnel – are you guiding visitors down the best path for them to do business with you? Are calls to action clear and prominent?
- Is the sign up for your email newsletter smooth, clear, and setting the right expectations?
- How can I find your contact information?
- How can I find your physical location?
- If your site is set up for ecommerce, is it easy to put things in my shopping cart?
- Is it easy to check out?
- If your site is generating leads, are the forms easy to fill out? Are you asking for too much information?
- Are the images on your site appropriate and do they facilitate your processes?
- If you have complex activity (users in forums, members interacting, data being shared) are the instructions clear?
- If you want people to engage with you via social media, are the links prominent and working? (I clicked a Twitter link last week that took me to twitter.com instead of to a user’s page)
Let me close with one last example illustrating the need to review and streamline your processes.
- I received an email from a vendor saying I need to renew a service for a client.
- I clicked the link they provided in the email and filled out the form.
- I received an email saying I filled out the wrong form and directing me to the right form.
- The next time I got a similar email, I remembered the link was wrong but couldn’t find the correct link.
- I started a chat with the vendor and was directed yet a different form.
- Suspecting something was amiss, I did a Google search, and found the form I’d used previously.
- I asked the support person about this other form and was told either one would work!
- I requested that the correct link be put in my emails moving forward so that I wouldn’t have to go through this again.
- I was told that would happen. Stay tuned to find out if it does.