A core point of having a business is to make money by providing a service or product. If you can’t make money, I’m guessing you won’t be able to run your business for very long. A problem I’ve been seeing a lot lately on websites is making customers work to be customers. By that I mean making it difficult for a customer to pay or the product/service is difficult to use. It sounds crazy right? But it happens all the time. It isn’t just a problem for small companies that don’t have resources to deal with the problem. Big corporations have the issue too. I dumped QuickBooks Online after three weeks because the application was difficult to use and took me longer to do billing so I switched to RoninApp. They made it easy.

Making your customers work to be your customer is a sure fire way to lose them as a customer. Even if you are doing everything else right, eventually they will get tired of it. Some other company will come along, they might not do it right but if it is easier they will probably go with them over you. Here are some example of what I mean by making your customers work to be your customer.

  1. Having a customer go through a long and boring application process or having your customer fill out unnecessary information to purchase or signup. Instead, figure out the bare minimum information that you need, get the customer to pay, then collection the rest of the information later. Get them committed first!
  2. Options overload: Too many choices that are too similar can confusing and lead a customer to give up because they don’t know which one is the best choice. Keep it simple. It makes it easier to keep track of your products and services. It will also eliminate unnecessary decisions your customers will have to make.
  3. Intentional slowness: Adding in unnecessary steps or wait times to keep a customer on your site. Does the wait time help a customer in any way? NO. Does it add to the product or service? NO. Does it waste your customer’s time? Yes! So stop it and remove the wait times!
  4. Customer Perfection: Forcing the customer to enter in info perfectly formatted. Some code in the backend can handle simple formatting and massaging of data. It will cost more to program but ease of use on the customer’s end can be the difference between a sale and a lost sale.
  5. Too much screen language: Asking customers to read a pile a text just to do something. If the process is complex, have the application or website walk the customer through it. That’s the point of having a website. So it does the work for you and the customer.
  6. Hunting for Options: Forcing the customer to scan the screen to find what they are looking for. If it is important, make it easy to find. Making a layout intuitive will help your customer navigate your site. The longer they are on your website, the greater of a chance they will find something to buy.
  7. Everything on one page: Overwhelming? Yes. Break it down into smaller steps. It is easier for the customer to handle.

There are a lot more making your customers work to be your customer issues but I think you get the point. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this sort of stuff out either. Most of the time it is as simple as asking your customers for feedback and/or looking at it from the customers point of view. This stuff doesn’t just apply to websites, this applies to any part of your business.

This week, take a moment to think about your customers, are you make it easy for them to be your customer? I’d like to hear some of your stories. Please leave me a comment.