You talk to your customers everyday via your website. But do you know what they are saying to you? Most executives incorrectly think of their website as a one-way customer communication vehicle – as in, “I, the company, say things to customers and they listen.” But how customers interact with your company’s website can tell you a lot about their impressions of your business. Are you listening?
My team and I have been using a variety of tests to understand what our customers think about us. We’ve learned some very valuable lessons recently. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of how we set up these tests, but rather will summarize some of the important things we heard from our website visitors. (In case you are wondering, we used a combination of quantitative and qualitative tests: A/B tests, popup surveys, usability tests, click/heatmaps and simple analytics reports.)
Four things we learned from listening to how our customers use our company’s website:
Speak in the Words Your Customers Use.
We wrongly assumed that our customers would understand industry jargon. They didn’t. When we switched our positioning and phrasing to the words they used, we dramatically increased comprehension, recall and conversion on our site. There is nothing dramatically new about the idea of using words your customers “get.” But the web allows you to quickly test, refine, optimize and find the best way to explain your service.
New Customers Value Certain Features More than Others.
Of course, customers would value some product characteristics over others, but by using simple analytics reports we found which ones they really valued. By looking at which feature page visits correlated highly with purchases, we realized which ones were most important to potential customers. Now we know to highlight these particular features early in the sales cycle.
Customers Want to Make a Human Connection with the Business.
Website visitors really liked seeing videos of our team members. Time and time again we found that users loved watching videos of the founders, executives and sales people demonstrating our service and discussing our features. While a few years ago simple graphics and well-written prose would convert visitors to customers, today customers are excited to see videos of the people behind the company. We also found that customers like to see faces on our website, and that they were drawn to click on them!
Asking Why Potential Customers Say No Can Help You Innovate.
We found that people would tell us why they are NOT going to buy! Querying about what features they would like to have seen or what issues kept them from wanting to buy has helped us decide how we are going to innovate our product and advance our company.
The days of merely using your website as a means to shout at potential customers are over. It’s time to harness the power of your website to learn from your customers, start conversations and spark innovation.
How are you using your website to listen to your customers?
Prasad Thammineni is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of OfficeDrop, a document management and document scanning service that helps small businesses go paperless and manage their content in the cloud. With OfficeDrop, you can search, access and share your paper and digital files from anywhere, anytime.