Think Like the Customer

In preparing for an upcoming trip, I called the hotel to get information about their airport shuttle. The conversation went something like this:

Hotel: “Hello, XYZ Hotel, how may I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I’m going to be staying there and wanted to get information about your airport shuttle.”

Hotel: “Yes, we have one.”

Me: “Can you give me details about it?”

Hotel: “It runs between the hotel and the airport. What else do you need to know?”

Me: “What times does it run? Do I need to schedule it? Is there a cost?”

Hotel: “It runs at set times back and forth. It is free to guests.”

Me: “Can you tell me what the times are?”

Hotel: “At 24 and 54 minutes past the hour.”

Me: “Is that from hotel to airport or airport to hotel.”

Hotel: “From hotel to airport.”

Me: “Does it have set times from airport to hotel and, if so, what are those times?”

Hotel: “Yes, it runs at regular intervals.”

Me: “How long does it take to go between the hotel and airport?”

Hotel: “I don’t really know. I guess maybe 15 minutes.”

Let me confirm for you—this is a true story. It felt like pulling teeth the entire time and my frustration level grew as the conversation continued. Because I had already paid for my visit through the Expedia package, I was stuck and forced into continuing to do business with this hotel.

Imagine if a potential new customer comes to your website and it is this hard for them to find the information they need. They are not stuck into working with you. There is nothing to prevent them from leaving quickly—and going to your competitor’s site.

Anticipate Their Needs

Upon hearing my initial request for shuttle information, the hotel operator could have pretty easily guessed that I would need to know basic schedule and price, if any, information and given it to me right then and there. That would be a great example of anticipating the customer needs and would have made me very happy.

When developing your website, put yourself in visitors’ shoes. Think about what they are coming there for, what information they will likely need at every step along the journey with you. This includes not just the copy you put on each page but your overall navigation and structure as well.

Are your offerings logically grouped so that someone can find the item they need quickly and easily? Once on a produce page, is all of the information pertinent to a purchasing decision front and center?

Exactly What Google’s Talking About

All throughout the SEO industry, “experts” push the need to create websites and content that focus on the customer, resonate with them and help them because Google is pushing for it. This is exactly what they—and Google—mean.

It really does not need to be difficult if you stop for a moment and literally imagine yourself as the customer. The next time you are the customer—whether in person, on the phone or online—think about your experience. Did the company make it easy for your or did they make you work to get what you needed?