I subscribe to a daily e-newsletter with amazing deals for local businesses, and plenty of ideas for new places to visit. It’s a fantastic newsletter, very short and easy to read, generating publicity for new businesses every day and opening them up to new markets.
So you can imagine the implications of this email linking to a new site with great featured products, excellent pricing, a beautiful website, and broken links to their shopping cart! Yikes!
After clicking through a few different product links on the site, I ended up at the same error multiple times and finally gave up, as I’m sure the other potential customers did as well.
Which led me to wonder – do all companies recognize the lost opportunities of poor design, broken links, and an overall “eye off the ball” approach to their websites?
Yes, we get busy in our daily lives, but it is amazingly important to walk through the same doors, so to speak, that your customers do. So I put together this simple checklist of those “doors” you should walk through each day, to make sure you don’t end up in this embarrassing and costly situation.
1. Visit your website every morning.
Links break. Pages change. Embedded images and videos fail. These are facts of life for most sites. It is crucially important to spend 5-10 minutes each morning navigating through your site to make sure everything works properly.
2. Subscribe to your own email list, and ask everyone at your company to subscribe as well.
Before sending out an email, send a test to your internal list. Ask everyone to open it and provide their feedback. Ask them to open it on their mobile phones as well, and be sure it is user-friendly. Would this be an email you would click through as a customer? Why or why not?
3. Call your customer service line. Use the automated system like a brand new customer would.
I am amazed at the problems on automated service lines. For instance, many lines only offer the option to dial a name using the letters on your keypad numbers. Well this is perfectly fine, unless of course you are using a standard Blackberry, which doesn’t show the letters that correspond to each number. Some services only offer directories by last name, but what if your customers don’t know the person’s last name? Oops.
4. Walk through your front door from the street.
Is the front reception area clean, inviting, and professional? Are the signs and literature updated and restocked? I have seen restaurants with signs out front promoting events that happened weeks before and were never updated, because the owners and employees all used the rear entrance and never noticed them.
5. Email yourself at home.
Did your email get through to your Comcast/Verizon/AOL address? Huge red flag here if it did not. Now, how does your signature line appear? Is your contact information available and well-designed? How does your name appear? Font size and spacing?