Audio Commentary on Websites – Urghhh!

I’ve been researching a particular market for a client and every single website I land on has audio – not just the crappy music we all know and love but someone speaking. Good grief how can one read the text and follow the audio at the same time? It so annoying and of course there’s no way to switch it off bar muting my speakers.

I suspect some enterprising soul has gone and pitched to all the businesses in the area. Telling them how great, and cutting edge having an audio commentary is. Not. If I was an actual buyer I’d be off those sites so darn fast my mouse would leave rubber marks.

I wish more people would put themselves in the shoes of their users and consider whether a “feature” really is a “feature”. 9 times out of 10 I’d bet my house it does nothing but drive people to their competitor’s websites. Which, when you think about it, is really good for my client. ;)

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Exceeding Your Customers Expectations

I bought two products online last Friday: a tube of shaving cream for my hubby from Hong Kong and a tube of moisturiser for me from Hoppers Crossing (a 15 minute drive from where I live).

Both offered free shipping which, whilst not a deciding factor, was certainly a nice bonus. So which one do you think turned up first thing Monday morning? Nope, it was the shaving cream from Hong Kong. Usually I wouldn’t have expected it until tomorrow. Seriously.

Now I’m not critising the Hoppers Crossing place – I purchase from there regularly and always receive my goods in a timely fashion, but less than one business day from Hong Kong, that’s sensational. It’s the type of online shopping experience I want to tell all my friends about. Thanks StrawberryNET!

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Don’t Make Them Think

You’ve got about 3 seconds to capture your prospect’s attention. That’s it.

In that time they have to work out what your site is about and what’s in it for them. The more complicated your message the more difficult it is for them to work it out – and the easier it is for them to hit the back button.

A few tips:

  • Design each page to have one main objective. Make it big, make it bold.
  • Keep your navigation labels (Services, Contact Us etc) simple and self explanatory. This is probably a little outdated these days (well I hope so) but don’t use obscure  images in place of text. We call that mystery meat navigation.
  • Make it easy for your prospects by making sure clickable links look like clickable links. Online, an underlined word signifies a link. If it’s not a link don’t underline it.

There’s enough competition out there without putting your prospects off before they’ve had a chance to become your customer.

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How Not to Treat Prospective Customers

I recently decided to take the ClickTracks Hosted free 14 day trial. Imagine my surprise when at one of the sign up screens I’m told it’s a 61 day trial. Wow that’s even better, enough time for me to really figure it out and enough time for them to really hook me in.

After sign up I received my first “invoice” which again stated I had a 61 day free trial. So off I went trialing it.

To cut a long story short, as I’m known to ramble, after 14 days I receive the thanks for trying our software, to continue using it you’ll need to pay email. So much for 61 days!

I decided to email them querying the dates and whether I was entitled to the 61 days as my invoice stated. I also suggested that hooking me in for that long makes my continuing all that more guaranteed.

3 or 4 days later I got a email saying the 61 days was an error and it’s actually 14 days. At least they thanked me for bringing it to their attention LOL.

Now ok it was a mistake, but where I come from if you make an offer which for some reason is incorrect you must honor that offer. With the internet being global I guess the same laws don’t apply. The laws of customer service do and for me as much as I like the program it’s left me feeling a bit pissed off. How hard would it have been to say we were wrong and we’ll honor what we told you. What would it have cost them? And I guarantee I would have been hooked after using it for 61 days.

Right now I think I’m gonna keep looking around.

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