Some Basics to improve Communication on your Business Website
Many Small Businesses do not communicate enough on their Websites
Many small businesses have a website to create an awareness of their product(s) and/or service(s). However, unfortunately many do not make the most of this opportunity to attract more customers or to retain existing customers through interactivity. Countless only rely on automated software in an attempt to create better customer relationships. Potential customers can become real customers if they feel secure enough to transact with the small business. Existing customers could be retained if excellent customer service is provided through better communication. A website should create a feeling of expertise and ease of access. In many instances it can be the customer’s first encounter with the small business.
The following are recommended to optimise your small business’ website for more credibility:
- Include a profile of the business so that the customers can know what it is all about. This profile can also include its history. If it is a new business, provide some information about the owners and why the business was established. Customers should feel confident conducting business with you.
- Include a section to explain what the business gives back to the community. A business that gives back to the community is perceived as genuine and caring. If your business does not give back to the community yet, it should be considered as a strategic objective.
- The layout of the website should complement the corporate identity of your business. A recognisable identity will reinforce the brand of your business.
- The link to the products and/or services should be clearly visible on the home page. Have you ever visited a website where you could not find information on the products with the first click? It can be discouraging and cause the visitor to leave the site.
- Invest in content management software. This software creates coordination and integration of messages on the website. The idea is to build a website that reinforces the message not confuses the visitor.
- If you include a section with information about the financial position (often the investors' relations section in large businesses) of your business, confidence in dealing with your business is enhanced.
- Include landline contact details and a street address of the business. No one will feel confident conducting business with an establishment not knowing where it is based or if it is a real business.
- Similarly your email address should preferably not be a web based email. If it is, providing landline and street address details become even more essential.
- Content should be frequently updated. It is discouraging to visit a website to discover that it was updated five years ago and that all information is thus outdated.
- Include testimonials of other customers on the website. The more the visitors to your website can see that others found your service satisfactory, the more confidence they will have in your business.
- Include a guestbook so that you can improve on your service. You will also encourage more sales if compliments are left. Let other visitors see which comments were left. If comments include complaints, let visitors see how quickly you responded to the complaint.
- Include useful information on your website. This can be links to other sites that will be of value to your customers. Make sure that those links are easy to be found. A functional website will be perceived as credible.
- Reward loyal customers with more exclusive services. Customers can, for example, sign up and receive frequent communication from the business in the form of a newsletter. Frequent buyers should also be rewarded with some form of discount.
- A Frequently Asked Question section is almost indispensable. It is essential for customers to understand your business if you want them to buy your product(s) or use your service(s).
- Include a sitemap which will assist customers in finding what they are looking for. A customer who feels lost, might leave your website. However, communication should be clear where the sitemap could be found.
- Provide links to social media so that your customer base can grow. Include some of the real time communication of customers on these social media platforms on your website so that potential customers can read what other customers are saying about the business.
- Include an online brochure with all products which can also be downloaded.
- Ensure that your customers will know in advance that they will pay through a secured system online. Investing in a secured online system is obligatory.
- Ensure that customers will know that their privacy is secure. No one will do business with you if they are not sure if you are going to sell their details.
- Customers want to be able to track the status of their orders and also have access to their online accounts. They need to know that they will be able to do.
- Items out of stock should not be displayed as available. All stock must be available when an order is made. Usually good e-commerce websites have inventories to automatically check for out of stock items. Communication about stock should be clear.
- Customers must know exactly how the product will be delivered and how long the order will take.
- Why not include text chat software so that customers will know that they could chat with an agent of the business in real time if they experience any problems?
Trust is built over a long period of time through repeated good customer service. Do not compromise your customers' trust by doing all the above and then make mistakes in customers' bills, for example. Sorting out incorrect bills afterwards will definitely alienate your customers. After-sales service is just as important.
The points provided above are by no means exhaustive but will make your customers perceive your business in a positive light.
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