How Websites Built to Enhance the Customer Experience Lead to Business Success
The rapid growth of internet usage and reliance has permanently changed the landscape and outline of business success. As of 2016, there were approximately 3.5 billion internet users worldwide, increasing from 2.21 billion in 2015. Go back a little further and you’ll see further evidence of the incredible uprising of internet technology, with numbers steadily growing from an even million in 2005 to over two million in 2010 — and continuing to rise up into the billions of users connected today.
Statista, a leading online statistics portal, reports that "Easier access to computers, the modernization of countries around the world, and an increased utilization of smartphones has given people the opportunity to use the internet more frequently and with more convenience."
While the internet has effectively infiltrated mainstream society, this rebirth of connectivity has had a significant effect on the business world. Thoughtful development of website marketing is now an integral step in writing a successful business plan, as well as an important way to market effectively.
In this day and age, where almost every service is provided via the internet — from renewing your car’s registration to ordering groceries — the lack of a clean, functioning website is often a sign of a lack of business savvy, and can negatively impact the success of a business.
A Quick Review: The Basics of UX, UI, and Content
The importance of web presence is evident, yet understanding what goes into a successful website is much more of a gray area. Disorganized, difficult to navigate, and aesthetically unappealing websites lead consumers astray, often evoking a sense of untrustworthiness or dated, irrelevant content.
While it's recommended to employ a seasoned website developer, it's also important to understand the basics of website design.
User Experience Design (UX) vs. User Interface Design (UI)
While both UX and UI are integral parts of website design, they play vastly different roles. User Experience Design, or UX, is "the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product," while User Interface Design, or UI, is "[UX's] complement, [providing] the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product."
Simply put, user experience design focuses on smooth working innards, layers, and maneuverability of a website. User interface design, on the other hand, focuses on the aesthetic appeal, the beauty of how it presents to the customer, and how it visually attracts a user.
Making Content Count
An aesthetically pleasing website is only as useful as the information represented within the pages. Incorporating content that not only stays true to branding, but also touches a broad range of consumers can be a challenging task.
Effective content writers follow a series of steps to ensure quality content. A seasoned copywriter or editor will conduct a full website audit, identify target audiences, learn the essential products or services, and employ a business-specific vocabulary that helps consumers understand and connect with the website. The content writer maps the content to the customer lifecycle by "creating content that connects with a buyer’s desires and emotional triggers."
First, develop your website content strategy. Then, start diversifying and invigorating your content.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a small increase in writing-related work, quoting only 2% growth between 2014 and 2024, the field of freelance content creation is bursting at the seams. Hiring freelance content writers is a great way to diversify content, invoke fresh appeal, and broaden the range of consumer connectivity. Generally, freelance content writers are hired to write individualized articles and blogs on topics that inform and appeal to the audience.
How Effective Websites Aid Business Success
Websites are a business's front line resource in attracting new customers. Not only do websites attract new clientele, but they also provide a highly accessible resource for current clients to learn about product or service changes, including special offers, deals, or product launches.
Building a Client Base
Online consumerism has increased dramatically — a recent study found that “Shoppers now make 51% of their purchases online, compared to 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014 … and 44% of smartphone users made buys through their devices, compared to 41% a year ago.”
These statistics set the scene for possible worldwide trends, and bear noting and incorporating into your business’s goals and plans.
Online platforms also help to broaden the range of ears and eyes that view a product. Instead of traditional marketing via radio, television, and newspaper, which mainly focus on regional and national audiences, a website touches the world, allowing services to reach international audiences.
The world is not an entirely cohesive unit. People rise and sleep at different times and work to varying schedules. A great benefit of a website is the ability to offer 24-hour accessibility.
Dogulin Digital, an Australia-based website development firm, provides a great example of the dangers of inaccessibility:
"Imagine that you want to buy from a store. You put in all the effort required to go to the store, but when you get there, it’s closed. We all know how irate we feel in that situation. You’ll think twice about going back given the bad taste it’s left. You will just find another store that is more easily accessible."
Internet-based communication has become a major resource, and not just in reference to youth usage, but for businesses as well. This is especially true for companies that hire remote workers. And in many cases, internet communication relies heavily on social media outlets. A recent study found that 62% of American adults were avid Facebook users, while "The proportion of Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn users who use each site daily has increased significantly since September 2014. Fully 59% of Instagram users, 27% of Pinterest users, and 22% of LinkedIn users visit these platforms daily."
These numbers tell a compelling story; enhancing your website with a communication platform like customer service chat is a surefire way to enhance communication between clients and customer service representatives.
Credibility has become a complicated issue with the upsurge in online marketing and web-based business practices. Dogulin Digital offers yet another wise word on the subject:
"By building a website, you are giving your business the opportunity to tell consumers why they should trust you, and the testimonials and facts to back up those opportunities. Believe it or not, most people will search the internet for a product or service before the purchase to check the credibility first ... Using your website, you can continuously serve consumers online and increase your credibility as a business owner."
Focus on the Customer
Another benefit of automating experiences via a website is to create timesaving practices that allow focus to return to the customer. While customers learn about products and shop the website, customer service representatives are problem-solving and connecting with other customers over the phone or via other channels.
Instead of promoting products and services, contact center representatives can be left to do what they do best: provide excellent customer service. In every case, a well-planned and creatively designed website can be the driving force behind this productive, balanced machinery.
For example, Wired Magazine notes that "Many smaller retailers are ... refining the design and usability of their main websites ... [S]ince consumers like to handle products before they buy them, some businesses are adding convincing multimedia content such as videos to websites, which describe products better than any salesperson could."
Shelling out cash for a domain, website designer, website developer, and content writer may seem exorbitant. Yet, the output of cash reaps financial rewards in the end. Websites automate many processes, including communication and troubleshooting, which leads to lower call volumes, faster response times, and higher customer satisfaction.
From the Computer to the Palm: Mobile Engagement
The final step is not the launch of the website. While this is a stepping stone in the process of marketing a business, the technological world demands further engagement. Mobile devices are the next resource to tap.
As of 2015, 52.7% of the global mobile phone population accessed the internet from their mobile device. Subsequently, global mobile data traffic is set to surpass 30.6 exabytes per month in 2020, up from 3.7 exabytes per month as of 2015. In closer analysis, the IBM Digital Analytics benchmark "found that 70% more consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer's site on Cyber Monday in 2012 than 2011."
Again, the numbers foretell the trend.
With that said, if mobile marketing and access are such important aspects of a successful business, then they must be addressed at the outset of website creation. Integrating mobile capabilities starts with design. The website must be created with the ability to be viewed on the smaller screens that smartphones or tablets provide. Optimizing this resource takes business accessibility to a new level, allowing users to obtain services and products from almost any location providing a Wi-Fi connection.
The mobile accessibility trend doesn't seem to be diminishing either. Coastline Marketing Group notes that "Nearly 40 percent of the traffic that a website receives is sourced from a mobile device." And further, "Use of mobile devices to access websites has more than doubled in just two years, and it is expected that more people will use a tablet or smartphone to look at a website instead of a computer in the near future."
Know the Dangers
While the benefits of using the internet as a reliable and integral marketing resource are clear, there are also dangers. From constant website maintenance to dwindling in-person connection, taking note of where a website can go wrong is an integral part in making sure it succeeds.
For example, one of the most prominent dangers is ‘showrooming.’
According to Wired Magazine, ‘showrooming’ is when "consumers try out merchandise in ... stores and then look for better prices online." This trend is mostly seen in retail stores, but applies to any business providing a service or product. Wired continues to warn against the dangers of showrooming, stating that "A recent Harris Poll survey found that 43% of U.S. adult shoppers 'showroom,' usually on their smartphones while still in stores."
Businesses are fighting back by charging browsing fees, yet this has been seen to negatively affect the consumer’s experience with the company. In the end, it comes down to consumer loyalty. The amount of respect, enjoyment, and continual engagement that a consumer receives or takes part in will determine the probability of that consumer engaging in showrooming.
The Customer is King
It’s an old and incredibly overused saying, yet it still holds true. In the end, the success of a business comes down to the customer.
A website provides an incredible platform to enhance the customer experience and increase connectivity. As statistics continue to verify increased internet and mobile usage year after year, so do businesses strive to find ways to innovatively implement the use of these technological aids. For the customer, this can manifest as a heightened interactive experience, a variety of multimedia channels through which to communicate and engage, and a safe place to get to know a business before venturing into partnership. For the business, it can translate to broadened marketing, improved cost efficiency, and plenty of opportunities for time-saving.
At Connect First, we’re constantly refining our website to ensure our users can find the information they need quickly, easily, and comprehensively. Stop by our site today and let us know how our UI/UX and content work for you.