This is what is happening regularly with your product and service offering. Chatting with user experience (UX) designer Kate Smith over coffee this week, she was quick to point out that people forget their website is a product of the company too.
“We don’t design, develop and build products and put them into the market to then leave them”, explained Kate, who has recently landed back in Hamilton, New Zealand after being based in Seattle, USA for the last four years working for Microsoft. “Why would your website be any different?”
“Your website should function like a customer service rep, in lieu of that customer actually being in your store.”
You’ve heard it a hundred times before – your website is your digital shop front. It is where people check out your business, make sure you are professional, see what others have to say about you, and determine whether you may be what they are looking for. And as Kate explains above, it’s your customer service representative too.
Kate laughed when I shared our HGB expression, “Your website isn’t a billboard that you can put up and leave for the next four years!” and agreed that she was surprised by the number of organisations that seem to think this is the case.
Having worked for Microsoft across its UX conference design, Kate touched on the astounding rate in which technology is evolving, and the impact this has on web development.
When you keep in mind that “57% of the purchase decision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier” you quickly realise why your website needs to be treated just like one of your products.
For those of you who remember Yellow Pages (yes, there are some in our office who don’t!), you would annually review your advert and update it each year. The same with your traditional channels such as newspaper, billboard and radio – again, you wouldn’t develop one and run it for the next four years.
Your website is no different. It forms part of your product offering in the market. Yes, that means you need to tweak, refine, test and review – regularly.
Just like a billboard, your website can ‘fade’ and look tired. Those stock images you bought three years ago are probably looking even older now. And that’s just what we can see on the surface.
Behind the scenes, digital technology is evolving at a rapid rate. Four years ago, you probably didn’t have Hotjar installed to understand your users.
With Hotjar, you can physically see visitor behaviour and where they drop (and why). This will help in learning and improving your website’s user experience and conversions.
Conversions, you ask? Yes, also gone are the days when your website was just a place where people could find your details. When you have people come to your website, you want them to THINK, to FEEL and to DO. And that ‘do’ component equals action – fill in a form, find out more, reach out and connect.
And don’t even get me started on SEO, mobile-friendly usability or speed…
So, at your next planning meeting when you are discussing your product/service offering and the improvements you are working on, how about following that conversation up with one about your other product – your website – and make sure it isn’t looking like the old billboard sign that was put up and forgotten about.