Do You Make These Mistakes with Website Usability?

Jul 15, 2021 | Customer Experience, Website Copy

When someone enters your website, they start with a somewhat-full tank of goodwill… depending on the person, their life circumstances, and how rushed they are.

If they’re in a big hurry? Their goodwill meter is already on its way down.

Every problem your visitor encounters further depletes this tank. One big mistake can completely run it dry.

Even if you’ve developed your website with the utmost clarity and simplicity (usability) it’s still possible to bomb on this part of usability.

Things that destroy goodwill fast…

** Hiding info visitors want… such as customer service phone numbers, shipping rates, and prices.

One very large and well-known shopping website (that I use regularly) makes it VERY difficult to reach customer service.

The phone number is buried several levels deep. By the time I spend 20 minutes finding it, I’m completely infuriated… and haven’t even gotten on the phone yet!

Needless to say, this “big player” should know better. But apparently they don’t.

** Asking for info you don’t need… instead of just what the job requires.

** Stringing people along with false sincerity… like keeping them on hold for 20 minutes while declaring how “important the call is to you.”

So, my call is important to you… but my time is not? Quit blaming it on your “unusually high call volume.” What a cop-out!

Things that build/rebuild goodwill…

It is possible to restore goodwill. Not easy. But possible.

You have to convince me that you (now/finally) have my best interests at heart.

What to do…

** Know what people want to do on your website and make it obvious and easy.

Is there an elephant in the room? You’ve got to acknowledge it and address it on your website. That’s where people look for updates about the problem.

Is your company in the news in a way that causes customers worry or anxiety? Like a strike or a public relations disaster?

Put it on your home page. Tell them exactly what it means for them. And how you will resolve the problems it causes…

In 2008 United Airlines broke a passenger’s $3,500 guitar on the tarmac. They refused to pay the claim. (Continued below…)

Don’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist like they apparently did. That costs you goodwill and makes the problem loom larger.

Addressing it proactively and stating what will happen with existing orders puts people at ease and shows you care.

People want to know exactly how “it” (fill in the blank) will affect them.

** Save me steps any way you can. Don’t make me jump through unnecessary hoops.

** Anticipate my questions and answer them. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are valuable, so long as they’re honest and don’t masquerade as marketing pitches.

** When in doubt, apologize. Like United should have done in 2008 when they broke the $3,500 guitar. Instead, they were indifferent and callous.

Nine months later, the passenger wrote and published the first of a trio of songs (“United Breaks Guitars”) that went viral. It humiliated the company.

United could’ve prevented this humiliation if they’d paid the claim promptly.

How well do you fill the goodwill tank of your website visitors and customers?


Carol Parks

Carol Parks helps entrepreneurs and companies grow and scale via digital copywriting and smart marketing strategy… both B2B and B2C. Need copy now? Check-out her Services & Copywriting Packages!