Design your Website with Customer Service in Mind

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Work at Home Moms > General Internet Marketing Articles > Design Your Site with Customer in Mind

Design your Website with Customer Service in Mind


 Categorization

One key consideration, especially critical for large websites, is categorization. If products and services are neatly compartmentalized, surfers will have a much easier time getting to what they need on your website quickly and efficiently. Nothing is more frustrating to a web savvy consumer than having to weed through endless pages of nonsensical material to find what they are looking for.

Categorize products and services as simply as possible, and provide a site map or search engine that customers can use to find information on their specific needs quickly. Products can be categorized in many different ways. Many products, like a clothing line for example, can be categorized via a “natural” process. For example, clothing falls into several naturally distinct categories, such as men’s, women’s and children’s. Likewise, clothing also falls into size categories, seasonal categories and categories related to the “casualness” or “formalness” or the attire in question. Be certain however, that you do not categorize too much; categorization can go overboard, resulting in discouraged customers.

Another example could be the jewelry industry. Certain products fall into natural categories. These include diamond rings, sapphire rings, opal rings, or diamond necklaces, etc. If you further broke down these categories, so that you had categories such as “diamond rings with sapphire accent stones in white gold” consumers would easily become frustrated. It is important to provide broad enough categories to select from without becoming obsessed with intricate details.

Theme

Optimal customer service is also more often achieved when a website presents itself with a certain “theme” in mind. For example, if you intend to provide a variety of services including updating resumes, career counseling and general employment information, be sure that a “career” or “employment” theme is evident in your web design. A career theme will include a website that has information pertaining to popular careers, resume assistance, possibly information on advanced degrees and information pertaining to advancement potential and personal coaching. Likewise, a website with an employment theme is likely to also provide information on resumes, but in addition may include links to employment law resources, government employment websites and may also have listings of vacant careers.

You do not want to stray too far from your theme; for example, an article on fitness is not appropriate for a website whose theme is employment. Consult with experts if you are unsure how to accomplish this. A website that has too much going on, and offers too many varied services, is much less likely to appeal to customers and provide the highest possible customer service.

Typically, when a customer surfs the net for a service they are looking for one item in particular. If you offer too many services on your website, your site is much more likely to come off as “cheap,” investing in too many little things rather than offering expertise in one area in particular. Thus, it is critical that you examine your website to ensure that you are offering products/services along a similar venue.

Policies and Procedures

One other method for ensuring customer satisfaction is providing a clear statement of your policies and procedures. This includes any policies regarding use of material or refunds/exchanges. Informed consumers are, more often than not, satisfied consumers. If a consumer is unaware that there is a non-refundable policy for example, and seeks a refund after purchasing a product, that customer is going to be sorely disappointed when they attempt to return the item purchased. If however you had provided this information up front, a customer is more likely to walk away pleased. Among the policies you should have in place include the following:

Procedure for returning damaged goods
Procedure for handling shipping charges for returned items
Procedure detailing confidentiality/privacy options
Procedure regarding return of products without receipts
Procedure for returning goods in opened packages
Procedure for returning goods when consumer changes mind
Well thought out policies and procedures practices will incorporate all of these factors to ensure that there is absolutely no question in the consumers mind when it comes to returning products.

Probably one of the most important policies you need to provide is your Privacy Policy: with so much spam these days, online shoppers are very concerned with their privacy. Make sure you have strict guidelines you abide by, and post them visibly on your site: make them accessible on every page if possible, so there is no doubt in your website’s visitor’s mind that you will, in no way, use the information for anything other than great customer service.

And make sure you only ask for information that is absolutely necessary for the buying process.

How are you doing?

Optimal customer service and efficiency is easily achieved with the use of just a few tips and tricks. So, how are you doing? Is your site designed with customer service in mind? If so, congratulations. If not, take a few minutes over the next few days and implement some of these strategies: you’ll be glad you did.
________________
Adriana Copaceanu, the gift baskets designer at ABC Gifts and Baskets keeps customer service at the top of her list of priorities. Visit ABC Gifts and Baskets for gift ideas for all the special people in your life.

2004 This article was written exclusively for Internet Based Moms™ and may not be  re-published or copied without permission from Internet Based Moms™, except to print one copy for personal use. Any questions regarding use of this article should be directed to Linda. Comments and general questions about the article's content can be directed to the author.

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