Improving website usability and the online customer experience
We are trying to get more of our customers to place orders online instead
of over the phone, but we are receiving many calls from customers who are having trouble using our
website. What are some things we can do to improve website usability and the online customer
The first thing you need to do is imagine what it's like to be your customer using your
website. Get online and place about 10 orders for yourself. Place a large order, a small order,
place orders of the same items on multiple days and see how difficult some of those things might be
for your customers to do. You need to actually do the things that your customers are asking you
about. Listen to what they're asking and go see what it's like for them, and then figure out what
it would take to be faster and more efficient. Find out what it's like to have to find something
again, or have your session timeout. Start a shopping basket that takes you an hour to put together
and then imagine you are called away for a moment and when you come back you discover your shopping
basket is gone because your session has expired.
Also, remember that there are some people who will never place orders anywhere but over the
phone. Be prepared for the fact that you need to be able to take orders in whatever way a customer
wants, even if you have to charge a surcharge. Your most valuable customers are going to be the
ones that will sometimes place orders over the phone and sometimes place orders online. Those
multichannel customers, in nearly every business, turn out to be the most
valuable customers. You want to encourage them to use you in whatever way they want to, and you
want each of those ways to be as easy and painless as possible. Your job is to get all of the
obstacles out of the way to their doing business with you.
Hear more in Creating
Customer Value, a SearchCRM.com monthly podcast series with Peppers and Rogers.
This was first published in May 2009