10 November 2016 | 11 Comments
- Do you have a website, blog, or Facebook page containing all information for your customers?
- 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:
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?