5 Online Ways to Drive Customers Away From Your Site

The AmEx OPEN Forum ran an article, 5 Red Flags Your Business Might Be Waving. It looked at ways a traditional brick and mortar store can send customers to the competition.

As I was reading it, I was automatically converting this list into an online version. Here’s my “web-based” version…

1. Too good to be true

Online, the “air of desperation” can be seen as offering too much for too little. Everyone wants a deal, but you don’t want people to find your site and prices shady or too good to be true.

Going along with this, it’s a great idea to thank people for their business. Just don’t go over the top and make them feel uncomfortable. It’s a fine line.

2. The site is too busy and confusing

If you try to pack your homepage with 50+ items you think everyone will love, it will have the opposite effect. People will feel confused, and the site will look cluttered.

Whitespace is your friend. Targeted offers work best.

Make it easy for potential customers to see your value, easily find what they are looking for, and check out without any trouble.

In other words, K.I.S.S.

3. Customer service that is lacking

This one is both easy and the most difficult to master online.

It starts with being responsive, and letting customers know all the avenues to contact your company. If you announce a way to contact you, make sure you staff that method and be there 100% of the time you are supposed to.

Be cheerful, be helpful, and get to a resolution as quickly as possible. The customer may not always be right, but they always think they are. You have to work within that framework.

4. Emails and chat that get too personal

There is one simple rule to avoid this pitfall:

Always keep the focus on the customer

It’s ok to stray a little with personal stories and experience, but make sure 90% of the conversation is focused on the customer. If the customer feels they are the most important item in the convo, it shows them you care about them and their issues.

5. An outdated website

Your homepage is the front window of your store. Your website is your brick and mortar store. (I know, not much of a leap.)

If your design looks like it came from when the internet was just starting out, it’s time to overhaul it. Design concepts change, even online. Web 2.0, allowing comments, social sharing icons, flash not being the standard, html 5, JavaScript/ajax to make pages update on the fly, zoom features on images, etc…

Make sure you keep your site alive and fresh. It may not require a complete re-design, but adding features customers expect and appreciate is always a good idea.

But don’t overdo it and violate rule #2 above.  :)

Anything else you’d add to the list?

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One Comment

  1. Some great points, I have been guilty of one or two of these in the past.
    Another one is the current trend of adding a lightbox style overlay/popup when the user lands on the site which usually contains a signup box for a newsletter. It’s going to put poeple off coming back if they have to wait for it to load then click off it everytime they want to visit your site.

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