There’s a small trick I do with my online order form that helps to identify one of the first problems a web site may have. I purposely don’t ask for a business address or phone number right away. I don’t want to know what these are. As a web site usability consultant, when I visit a client’s web site for the first time, learning how to contact them is my first official task. If I can’t locate this information, or it’s a pain in the neck to find, I’ve discovered their first customer service issue.
I wouldn’t recommend that you do this with your online business, especially if you are selling products. Your responsibility is to gather accurate information for your transactions immediately so that you can conduct business in an efficient, courteous manner. I, too, have reasons to be more formal, depending on the project. Both you and I have a strong desire to conduct business or provide information in a positive, productive way.
If we do not, how do we know when we’ve failed? How do we know when we’ve succeeded? If we don’t make the effort to include customers ‘ needs and desires in our interaction with them, and our competitors do, what message does this send? Are you inviting user feedback?
Dear Google, Your Application is Groovy
Search marketers know that local searches are a new arena for promoting online businesses. One way to do this is by informing Google Maps that a business exists. When Google has this information, with data provided by a site owner or their Internet Marketing Consultant, it is more likely a search for your product or service, in your town, will display your business.
I decided to enter my business into the Google Maps application (http://maps.google.com/). There are several steps to the application, with helpful user instructions to guide you. When I reached the end, I had several options for how Google could verify that it was I submitting the data, rather than someone not associated with my business. This extra effort towards accuracy signals a desire to be customer service oriented.
Since I believe in positive reinforcement, I would have liked to have sent a “high five” to Google because I had a good experience using their application. However, on the last screen, there was no place to offer feedback of any kind. I couldn’t rate it. I couldn’t recommend it to someone. I couldn’t send an email. I couldn’t answer a one-question quick survey such as “Did you enjoy adding your business to Google Maps?” or “Did you have any problems entering your business and if so, please send us your experience.”
I know Google is user centric. This is a missed opportunity for user feedback. It’s a missed opportunity to get a pat on the back for a job well done. We all like to hear about when we’ve done something
a site visitor appreciates.