Friday, August 27, 2010

Is your website customer focused?

Recently I finished working on a couple of website and while analysing the different competitor website before undertaking each and every job, I noticed a stunning fact...some companies still haven't realised that the world does not revolve around them! Some sites are simply egocentric - they are more interested in telling people what they do, who their people are, what achievements they made etc etc, rather then serving their customer needs..i.e. solving customer problems.

The fact is that it is already difficult to attract visitors to your site, and probably when you do manage to attract them the average visitor has an attention span measured in seconds, and he scans the web instead of reading every word. Hence an egocentric website simply turns people off.

A well thought website on the other hand, doesn’t leave a visitor stranded, searching for the customer benefits of the company’s products or services. It is customer driven, provides clear benefit statements and is designed using an outside in perspective. Just think of the reasons your visitors go to your website and your goal should be to help them achieve their goal as effortlessly as possible.

Let's take a fictitious example to illustrate this:

We’re visiting a florist website. Their target market? Flower buyers for special occasions.

The homepage leads off with:

"Since 1975, ABC Florist has delivered flowers to more than 500,000 persons worldwide. What distinguishes us from competition? State-of-the-art technology – including the latest in flower growth and monitoring devices – along with six sigma processes to ensure the highest quality."

How does this sound to you? Where do you, as a customer fit in?

While prospects and customers care a lot about the companies they deal with, they care first and foremost about their own needs. In this instance: “How will ABC Florist help me?”

Here’s another version of the homepage into:

“Whether you are looking for Red, Blue, White or any other color matched flowers, there no need to look further as no other company offers a wider selection, faster delivery or more customer-friendly service than ABC Florist.

Independent surveys show that ABC Florist is the most reliable when it comes to product delivery and we're working to continue improving...

ABC Florists stands for Great selection, Fast delivery, Friendly service...there's no other match.

This time, the homepage speaks to customer and how the company can help them. In this case I still refered to the fact that ABC Florist has the best delivery and the widest variety, but I did so in the terms of the benefits this will bring to the customer...Best selection gives the user more choice and best delivery ensures that the flowers arrive fresh and when the customer needs them.

This is simple identify the customer needs and provide a product or service that meets that need...In this case the website in an extension of the company products and hence must make sure that this too meet customer needs.

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