So, in better times you designed your Web site so that you would drive people to shop online instead of calling your toll-free number. But two things have happened over the last year that impact many businesses, perhaps yours.
First, more and more people who are not tech-savvy are buying products that used to be primarily sold to those whose second language was HTML. These people, like my 85-year old father, have no faith in computers and are even afraid of them. Others are like me. We know how to do some things online, but we’re not about to click “Run” and start creating new paths unless someone from our IT department is sitting at our elbows.
Or, we’re away from our computers trying to use a cell phone to make a purchase or search for information.
How user-friendly is your Web site? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to increase the prominence of your toll-free number so that more customers could start a dialog with you? Especially if they’re part of your customer segment that doesn’t feel comfortable online? Or, for that segment of customers that is Web-savvy, can they easily navigate your Web site from their smart phones?
BTW, got one of those toll-free numbers that you promote as a word in order to easily remember it? Like 1-800 BUY ME NOW?
Did you know that many smart phones with a QWERTY keyboard can’t dial those numbers? For example, Blackberries have the letter “E” assigned to the number “2,” not “ABC” as on traditional telephones. You might want to dispense with the cutesy word.
Second, with the recession deepening and therefore every customer even more important to you, isn’t it time you had someone evaluate your Web site? If it hasn’t been revised in two or three years have others passed it by?
Southwest Airlines is proud of its feature that sends Customers text messages if their flight status changes. Pretty radical several years ago when it was introduced, but Continental Airlines has surpassed it in ease of use.
It may be tempting to hunker down and ride out the recession. But it may be better if you use the time to rethink your procedures and policies both to make sure they are current and because your customer base may be changing.