For many businesses, face-to-face customer interaction informs everything about their daily operations. When building a business website, however, these businesses don’t always place the customer at the center of their efforts.
It’s easy to understand why. A website doesn’t offer the same kind of direct customer feedback as an in-person interaction would, making it all too easy for decision-makers to substitute their own experience in place of a design centered around their customers. The problem is, more often than not, customers will have a very different experience using a business website than the one its designers envision – and that can lead to very real problems for the business.
To avoid that, it’s vital for businesses to design their websites with an eye toward customer experience (CX). Doing so requires some careful design planning, thorough testing, and a willingness to make counterintuitive changes when customer feedback indicates they’re necessary. Here’s a brief look at what to do.
Start With the Basics
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a business website that offers an excellent customer experience (after all, your customers may be quite different from those of other businesses), there are some basic design tenets that will provide a solid CX design foundation. They include:
- A responsive site design – With approximately half of all website traffic now coming from mobile devices, making sure the site works well on all platforms is key to solid CX design.
- Fast-loading pages – Volumes of research have confirmed that the average website visitor expects a page to load within two to three seconds, and will leave if it doesn’t. For that reason, improving page load times goes a long way toward improving the CX design of any business website.
- Providing self-service options – Today’s consumers visit business websites expecting to find information – from frequently-asked questions to detailed product data – and they want to find it in a way that works for them. That means providing plenty of self-service options like a comprehensive knowledge base and an interactive chat service within the website.
- A quick contact method – In recognition that a business website can’t do it all, it’s important to provide a quick contact method so customers can get what they need from the business. That can come via a phone call option, a quick-turnaround contact form, or even having a live agent available to answer questions right on-site.
Conduct Thorough Testing
With a basic design in place, the next step to refining the site’s CX is to put it in the hands of actual customers and see how they use it. Focus on details like time spent filling out forms and interacting with site elements to look for ways to streamline site functions. If possible, conduct heat map testing to make sure that the site’s most important elements get the right amount of attention from visitors, and track visitor metrics to see which pages work best for real-world customers.
Once the site is up and running, the CX design process doesn’t end there. In almost every case, customers will be able to identify areas in need of improvement or elements that could use some work far better than any designer can. Make sure to solicit feedback from customers to gauge how they feel about the site. Ask what they like about it, and more importantly, what they don’t. Don’t be afraid to make changes based on this feedback – even if it seems out of line with the original business plan for the website. The bottom line is that your customers know what they want, so giving it to them is the best approach.
Never Stop Refining
A business website, once launched, will take on a life of its own. It will need to grow and change, adapting to the needs of customers along the way. This requires an ongoing effort and a dedication to CX excellence to keep your site as successful as it was on launch day. If your business needs a website, or just some help getting an existing site to provide the perfect customer experience, contact Comit Developers and we’ll get you and your website on the right CX design track.