As a business owner I am faced, almost on a daily basis, with the reality that we get by doing the least to get the most. When forced to choose which tasks to check off our list of to-dos, we shift other really important things to the backburner to make room for the things that seem critical. It’s a balancing act that somehow seems logical, but I know I’m not the only one that worries, “Gosh, I sure hope I’m doing the right thing.”
Most days I’m criticizing other peoples’ websites. Not in a negative way, but in a constructive way. I see a lot of really strange things. The things people decided to put on the backburner once upon a time. I talk to business owners and managers that despite their terrible website, lack of a real logo, horrible pictures and an overall ugly site are still overwhelmed with new and recurring business. These people very quickly try to shut me down because they hear the same tired approach to these businesses, “You don’t want more business with a better website?”
The response is usually, “I don’t give a $@&*!
Reason 1: A Website for Narrowing Your Market
In fact, there are some companies that need less business. I spoke with a gentlemen just the other day that doesn’t like his current website because it provides the general public too much access to his company’s information. He is hoping to eliminate consumer clients altogether and attract more commercial clients but his current website inhibits the ability to narrow his customer profile. If anything, he needs to turn his website into a pre qualification and client management tool where potential clients are vetted and only those with a username and password can gain full access.
There are other ways to maintain multiple customer profiles through access layers. One type of access would limit the customer experience whereas another access type would open up greater functionality and visibility into more data. This way you can control different customers in different ways.
Reason 2: A Website for Customer Service Management
Others I talk to need a website that functions not as a mere online presence, but as a tool for streamlining customer service. One of my new clients explained a tough situation where she is the point of contact for the service department at her company. She is accessible 24/7/365 via cell phone when customers need help. Can you imagine sitting down to open presents with your family Christmas morning- and the phone rings with a service call?!
A website can provide emergency customer service management without having to always answer a call. Customers can submit a form on the website to request service and multiple managers can receive an email notification. This way a joint decision can be made about who will solve the problem based on timing, regional constraints and other factors.
Reason 3: A Website for Recurring Orders Without Payment Processing
We have clients that only sell to other businesses. They want something with the look and feel of an ecommerce store without transaction processing capabilities. They don’t usually know how to articulate that what they’re needing is an ordering system. I highly recommend an ordering system for any company relying heavily on a team of people standing by the phone to take orders. It’s a waste of time and manpower that could be used on other revenue generating activities like marketing and sales.
An ordering system should include products that are purchased very regularly. It should be accessible using any device so clients can order as they please. Transitioning from a call system to an online system quickly makes loyal customers very happy.
Reason 4: A Website for Booking Meetings or Appointments
A digital calendar is a very important tool. If you’re a small business owner or manager that isn’t using a digital calendar, you are missing out on something that is super powerful and will radically change your life. As someone who is all over the place with meetings, appointments, photoshoots, lunches, games, concerts, etc., I can’t imagine not using one. It’s often difficult to change a habit like writing on a trusty sticky note or in a paper calendar, but if you’ve been relying on this antiquated method, you’ve likely already failed at executing some very important things. I don’t need to do much convincing.
With an online booking system, customers or potential customers can view your availabile times online and schedule an appointment without having to call or email. This is a particularly powerful tool for business models like salons, financial managers or on call services that rely heavily on gaining a commitment as quickly as possible. When someone books the appointment online, you can sync it with your calendar for fast, simple integration across multiple devices.
Reason 5: A Website to Limit Social Media Redundancy
Another good example is something like Facebook integration. Many people are wasting far too much time posting all the same exact information to their website that they’ve already posted to social media. There are tools that can be linked to your website so that a post to social media automagically shows up on your site as well.
If you are someone who doesn’t care that their website is broken and useless, take a second look at the technology that can be integrated as part of your site to make life easier or provide a better customer experience. You may be making money hand over fist and losing it just as quickly through inefficiencies.