Thinking Like a Customer
Understanding your customer on a personal level shows an important characteristic of true marketing prowess – Empathy. While everybody has the ability to empathize, or to put on the shoes of others, how often do we actually use this skill to our advantage in everyday business?
To start off, it is important to recognize the advantages of simply taking a step back and viewing your business or organization from the viewpoint of a potential customer. After all, these are the people who determine the success (or failure) of your endeavors, so it is important to care about the opinion that they have of you from first glance.
Today, it is more likely than ever that the first impression anyone has of your business comes from your website.
On any given day, even a small site might average a hundred unique visitors. Cool, a hundred people sounds amazing, right? The unfortunate reality, however, is that not all of those people are there to give you a pat on the back and buy your product or service.
On average, over 60% of those people (possibly even more) are going to hit the back button in their browser before there is any chance to understand your product or service; leaving just 40% who may stick around for a few seconds and check out another page or two on your site.
Why did so many “bounce” away?
• They were in the wrong place. You sell industrial guard rail and they wanted baby crib railing. Either they made a mistake or your site is attracting the wrong target market.
• Your site was too slow to load. Many visitors are very impatient.
• Your site does not work well on a mobile device, and over half your visitors are using phones.
• Your site is beautiful, but they couldn’t quickly understand what you do, where you are, your business hours, or how to contact you.
• Your site is ugly, and though the information is there, your business looks like the worst choice they could make.
For those few who remain, the clock is ticking. What do they care about? (Remember, we need to have empathy and think like our customers.)
• The visitor staying on your site has a need, a problem to solve. What is it?
• They want to know if you understand the problem.
• If you do understand the problem, can you fix it?
• If you can fix it, are you the right service provider for the job (everyone else said they can fix it too.)
• Finally, they want to know when can you solve their problem, if you can do it conveniently for them, and how much it will cost.
If you think through these points, you will understand that the first thing customer wants to know is not how many years you’ve been in business, how many employees you have, or how many big clients you serve. They want to know if you can solve their problem, and if you care about solving their problem.
For an easy example, let’s consider two law firms that handle DUI cases. One is a Big Firm with 20 years’ experience and 17 lawyers. The other is a Small Firm with 10 years’ experience and 2 lawyers.
The website of the Big Firm shows their new building, the entire team standing together in expensive suits, and big banner text proclaims their decades of experience.
The website of the Small Firm starts with a simple message:
• “We know this is a frightening experience for you.”
• “You may be worried about losing your job or damaging personal relationships.”
• “You don’t know where to turn or how serious the charges might be.”
• “We can help. We’ll be at your side with the legal experience you need to get your life back on track. Call us today.”
Using this approach, the Small Firm has a chance to out-compete its bigger rival. (And if you show empathy for your customers, so will you.)
Are we saying that information about the history, size, and expertise of your company is unimportant to your web visitors? Not at all!
We are saying there is a natural order to providing your web visitors with information. First, they want to know if you care about their problem, then they want to know more… Validation, the step where they check out your history and credentials, usually comes last.
Here’s the secret: Think about how you would feel as an everyday consumer looking for needed products or services. Pay attention to what sets you off, draws you in, and even inspires you.
Once you can think like your customers, your web developer will be glad to help you bring your website to life!
Blog Post by Daniel Falk, CME Integrations Software Engineer