Kickstarter Lesson #205: One Simple Way to Significantly Improve Your Website Today

10 November 2016 | 11 Comments

Two questions:

  1. Do you have a website, blog, or Facebook page containing all information for your customers?
  2. If so, do those customers still e-mail you with questions?

Up until recently, I made the mistake of blaming customers for not finding the answers on my website. In my mind, all of the information was there–why were they requiring one-on-one service?

I’ve since realized a few key things about those questions:

  • Every time a customer reaches out to me directly, it’s an opportunity, not a burden. I should consider myself lucky to connect with customers in that way.
  • If a customer can’t find an answer on our website, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t look. Perhaps they looked and couldn’t find it–that’s why they contacted me.
  • It is a fallacy for me to assume that I’ve clearly communicated information on our website. Customers often have questions because the website isn’t as clear as I think it is.

For a long time now, whenever I’ve received an e-mail from a customer asking a question, I’ve answered in brief and included a link to show them where the answer is on our website. That way they can click through and get the full information.

This is mostly a good solution. After all, if I’ve already typed and honed a detailed answer on the website, there’s no need for me to completely retype it. But it’s missing one key ingredient.

In many of my recent responses to these questions, after I’ve answered the question, I’ve added two sentences that has already resulted in significant improvements to our website. The way I write these sentences varies on the e-mail, but here’s the basic idea:

“I’d love to improve our website so it’s better equipped to help other people who have this same question in the future. May I ask where on our website you looked for this answer?

When I started asking this, I wasn’t sure if anyone would reply. But much to my surprise, a lot of people did, and even the shortest answers has proven to be helpful. It lets me see our website through the eyes of a user instead of an administrator, which is an incredibly powerful tool.

To give you a recent example, someone messaged me on Facebook with a question. They mentioned that they had looked at our website, but they couldn’t find how to contact me. That stood out to me, because there are multiple places on the website for this.

So I asked the person, and they said they always look in the upper right of a webpage for a little envelope icon. Which is totally a thing on lots of websites! It just hadn’t occurred to me or my web dev to put it there. So we added one:

2016-11-10_1550

It’s such a simple thing, to ask this question of people, yet their answers can prove incredibly beneficial.

What do you think? Do you use methods like this to improve your website or Kickstarter project page?

Also read: Kickstarter Lesson #52: Write a Blog and Kickstarter Lesson #189: Can’t We Have This Conversation in Public?

11 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #205: One Simple Way to Significantly Improve Your Website Today

  1. Very helpful! I suppose it is the same as writing down the rulebook, some things seem trivial for the creator because he obviously made the rules, but it is pointed out to someone who doesn’t know what you want to say – so better say it clearly!

    It is my way of teaching kids how to learn to answer: don’t assume you always have a teacher facing you that understands the general meaning you say, pretend you answer to a non-relevant person that WANTS to know, but you HAVE to explain as good as you can!

    MY two cents.

    1. I really like the comparison to honing rulebooks. During the blind playtesting process, if someone asks a question that’s in the rules, I often ask them where they looked for it, just so I can better understand what’s intuitive to the gamer.

      And you’re right, it’s also a teaching tool so people can learn to help themselves to the information that is available to them.

  2. This is a great suggestion, and comes down to companies should constantly look for ways to improve their service. I still always look for a Contact Us page, because I’ve been around the web from before those little contact flags became a thing, so hadn’t even noticed the addition of that to the website, but yeah for people used to those, I could see why they’d look for them before looking for a Contact Us page.

    And, what Harry said, especially important for essays and coursework. Answer assuming the person who’s marking knows nothing, because they’re trying to figure out what you know when they’re marking. The fun stuff like synthesis comes after you’ve demonstrated fundamental knowledge.

    1. Stephen: I’ve found it really helpful to get the exact wording that people look for. Like, you look for “Contact Us,” and others might look for variations on that or something completely different (like “Customer Support”). It’s interesting to get that input and try to cater the page to different people.

  3. An insurance guy I know, said to me once that while trying to persuade a customer, he lets them do exactly that. When they ask something he doesn’t know the answer or can be comprehended differently, 1st question is “What do you mean by that? ” and if the same applies again, 2nd question ” So?/Such as?” To gain time to think or make them say the answer themselves. Like Socrates did.

  4. Great post. Appreciate your openness to dialogue. The example you provided was excellent. I recall, from 15 years ago, that we were told most people won’t search beyond three clicks. As an analyst, I’d relied on persistence to find detailed information. This may made me better at my job. I didn’t get this 3 and give up in frustration. But not everyone is of that mindset.

    I suspect I’ll be back on your customer support page on Monday, since I’ve not yet seen a shipping notice for the metal coins, but I’ll look at that page more closely to give you precise feedback.

    Thank you for another enlightened post.

    1. Val: The metal coins, Token Trilogy, and Tuscany EE arrived at our fulfillment center yesterday after being delayed at port for a few weeks.You’ll get a shipping notification in a few days.

  5. Thanks!

    I did look at the customer support site and one thing did occur to me about your pages: there was no clear link to the diagram you’ve included in newsletters which showed a timeline and status of the project. If I have an item pending, the options buy or missing parts aren’t relevant to my inquiry, but that diagram would be and it’s already created. Maybe I just couldn’t find it.
    (info only, No response needed.)

    1. Hi Val, thanks for the input. Could you clarify this feedback? I’m a little confused because the diagram itself is the timeline and status–what are you looking for it to be linked to? Thanks!

  6. Jamey, so simple thing and can make such a difference! The icon added to my site! I never thought that anyone could have any problem to contact you from your website, but I see I was wrong. The idea to ask people why they failed to find something on the website and where they did look for it sounds like an excellent idea to improve the website.

    Thanks

Leave a Comment

© 2019 Stonemaier Games