Google will tell you that user experience is the top ranking factor for SEO. The problem with that is that it is extremely vague and actually takes into account many factors such as speed, content digestibility, navigation, site structure, etc. Sometimes it is hard for a business owner to know from the inside if their site provides a good user experience. It is sometimes good to let someone from the outside give you honest feedback. In general, you should provide great information in an easy to digest format and make it as easy as possible for visitors to hire you for whatever you are offering. Often, a business owner is shocked when someone shows how confusing or complicated their site is when someone wants to hire or use them, or even take a step down the sales funnel.
I have recently been doing some used car shopping and have found some really bad versions of user experience (UX) in the process. You may want to think about some of these tools and make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes. Perhaps auto dealerships don’t need to make it easy because they feel that if you want the car they have, you will do the work, but it is pretty crazy how some of these websites work. If you have jumped on any online or offline tools that many are using such as online chats, answering services, or automated email replies, make sure you are using them to improve user experience, and not to actually make it worse. When these tools fail, customers remember that negative experience even more than if they weren’t offered at all.
UX Tool Fails
Online Chat When Nobody is There: Do you have one of those online chat features that is supposed to answer visitors questions while they are on your site. This is a great chance to capture a potential prospect right then and there with good information and lead them down the sales path. From my recent searches for a used car, I have been running into the chat feature that is supposed to be available, but when you ask a question and the tool tells you someone is reviewing your response, nothing ever happens. Nobody is at the wheel. What a huge disservice to the tool and to your business. This definitely left a bad taste in my mouth and likely would for anyone trying to use the service. If you have the service, make sure someone is paying attention. It can be a great tool if used properly.
Automated Email Replies That Don’t Acknowledge Relationship: Another one I see regularly when searching for a car, but also in other forms of business, is the automated reply or string of replies. It is great to get back to people and let them know you got their inquiry, but if you never actually answer their questions or follow up questions, but keep sending them generic and sales related emails that have nothing to do with their original problem or issue they are contacting you about, it makes them feel like they are talking to a wall. You aren’t paying attention and you don’t care. I had one dealership that I asked questions to a few different people that had sent me automated replies, but none of them ever actually answered my questions and kept sending me automated emails about cars available that weren’t even close to what I was looking for. Be smarter with this or don’t do it. It is good to let someone know that you received their email or inquiry and you will get back to them, but then make sure someone does, and make it someone that can actually answer their questions. Also, if the person requests to be contacted in a certain way, pay attention to that. If someone requests to be contacted by email, do that, and if by phone, do that, especially if you are going to ask the best way to contact them. Simple stuff, but performed poorly far too often.
The Contact Person Can’t Actually Answer Any Questions: This can apply to the online chat, emails, or even the front desk. It is understandable that technical questions or very detailed questions may not be handled by the person at the front desk, but the person with the responsibility of talking to people coming in or finding you online should be aware of services you offer or products you carry. Adding steps to the sales funnel where you feel like you aren’t gaining any ground frustrates the visitor. Someone that reaches out by chat on your site most likely prefers to contact you that way, and not by the phone, so just telling them to call you makes the chat process a frustrating process. Keep this in mind and try to make the face of your business to the public able to answer most general questions that come their way.