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Top Sites' User Experience Teams And Their Challenge (Abstract)

Top Sites' User Experience Teams and Their Challenge. Common issues faced by some of the heaviest visited websites on-line. Including a checklist for focusing on improving your own site. [Good Experience][Boyink Interactive, LLC]

According to Mark Hurst, founder and host of the Good Experience Live (GEL) conference, shares the common issues found in major traffic holding websites based on a 10-day tour and interviews with over a dozen companies. This abstract includes a summary of the original article with commentary from a relationship building prospectives.

These challenges were common across business models, team capacity, and on-line goals. Your own company is facing these same problems, and it's hurting customer, employee, and vendor relationships.

  1. Any interaction with a customer is an interaction with your company. Your customer or prospective customer doesn't care if they are served by your "Web Commerce Division" or "Advanced Development Team", all they know is your company name. In fact, that's all they really care about, your internal corporate structure should be transparent to the customers desires.
  2. It is critical your organization develop a standard style guide for the website. This function is the responsibility of corporate communications in conjunction with content providers -- you wouldn't let your engineers write all of your marketing materials, then why are they publishing new materials on your website. This also protects legal aspects of near real-time information dissemination.
  3. You must have a company common model for measuring the lifetime value of a customer. This model should cover acquisition costs and methods of maintaining the customer relationship. Gone of the days of single transaction through a static channel, today customers can buy in a 101 ways. You must measure their lifetime value accordingly.
  4. Have a single company-wide group who mandates changes to improve the customers experience. Along the lines of style, someone must measure and test customer experience (or the rate in which the site produces a positive customer interaction.) This group can be composed of representatives from each business unit, or a separate group connected with sales, marketing, and customer service.
  5. A document objective/mandate for web interactions with customers is a must. Define why, how, and when you communicate with customers over the web. What experience they desire, and how you seek to achieve it. Focus on the companies strategic business objectives and how the website can bring you closer to them.
  6. Your corporate-wide customer experience group must represent the expertise necessary to produce results. As alluded to earlier, choose people with more than tactical usability: choose expertise in corporate strategy, marketing, financial modeling, data analysis, and political savvy to bring everything together. Treat your website as a functional part of your business, as you would any other corporate communications.
  7. Develop buy-in from other business units early in the web initiative. A website is more diverse and has a greater number of usages than most other business communications. You want everyones feedback early to develop a useful product around customers desires. Don't just toss a website together -- it creates more harm than good.
  8. Seek support from management by sharing financial gain. Make sure your management knows on-line technical support can save your company money, that 24 customer orders reduces costs, and be specific about the value a website brings the company. Share with them the facts and figures that help the website pay for itself -- but be honest and produce something measurable.

You don't have to separate your website from other customer communications channels, just give it the attention it deserves.

If your website looks hodge-podge, your customer will think your company operates the same way. For a website to support a customer relationship, it must present an organized picture of your company and facilitate positive interactions with buyers. There is more to web usability than what is presented here, but consider this a quick overview for those who haven't consider these issues in the past.

/ b2b-websites | clearly-communicate /

By Justin Hitt at July 23, 2003 1:49 AM  Subscribe in a reader


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