What could a simple cab ride have to do with having a better website?
Actually a lot! I’m going to share five lessons you can learn in just the ride from any airport to a downtown hotel in any larger metropolitan area.
Now bear in mind that this illustrates only the initial customer interaction with your website. There is even more to consider when thinking about the customer’s different needs during the entire journey with you during their lifecycle which I hope to address in a later post soon.
OK… You’ve landed at the airport, gathered all of your luggage, and headed curbside to grab a cab.
The cab pulls up and the driver gets out, walks around to the trunk, takes one look at your luggage and just grunts at you. Immediately you feel like you’ve done something to offend him.
He wrestles everything in and slams the trunk lid shut as you sink into the back seat feeling embarrassed that you actually had luggage or needed to travel.
LESSON 1: BE LIKEABLE
When you’re dealing with customers, you need to put on your game face. When customers visit your website, it needs to be inviting.
If you find your website is alienating customers in the first few minutes, I suggest you find another website designer and another website.
As you hit the open road, you quickly discover that this driver has one foot planted on the accelerator and the other on the brake. Smooth is definitely not a word in his driving vocabulary.
LESSON 2: BE EASY TO NAVIGATE
Can your customer get around your site? I recently received an email ‘offer’ from a freelancer that didn’t actually include a link to the offer. When I went to his/her site, there was no mention of the offer and although there was a sentence to “Click here for rates” it didn’t link to anything. Don’t make it difficult for the user. When was the last time someone gave you honest feedback on your website? A better question; when was the last time you asked for feedback?
As you continue, you notice the inside of this cab looks like something out of a horror movie. You’re not really expecting a room at the Ritz, but they could throw out trash, sweep out dirt and wipe drool off of the windows.
LESSON 3: TAKE PRIDE IN EVERYTHING THAT THE CUSTOMER SEES/TOUCHES
It’s easy to get complacent, challenge yourself to step up and find the “drool” in your website. Fix those spelling errors, broken links, missing images.
Twenty minutes outside of the airport the cab driver turns to you and ask you if you know where the hotel is. If you knew, you’d have rented a car, right?
LESSON 4: HAVE GREAT CONTENT
You need to have knowledge about your products, customers, market, industry and competition. Your website is one of the resources that your customers look to for advice – impart some of that wisdom.
You’re nearing downtown and traffic starts getting heavy. It’s a warm, humid day in the big city so you ask if we could roll up the windows and turn on the air. Without a missing a beat you’re told “no.” Not, “I’m sorry it’s broken.”, just “no.”
LESSON 5: TAKE CARE OF THE CUSTOMER
Cab drivers get tips, sales reps get commissions, websites generate revenue. There are more similarities than differences in how these three get compensated. If your livelihood depends on customers, then you, your manager, your organization and your website need to be committed to taking care of them.
If you don’t someone else will.