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Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Questions Do You Ask About Customers?

Questions originally uploaded by oberazzi.
Questions by OberazziHow often do you stop to ask yourself questions about your customers and website visitors? About how they might react to some of the fancy effects you've decided to implement?

Or, do you just assume that they'll love it?

Here's a list of 22 Things You Don't Know About Your Customers from Conversation Marketing's Ian Lurie.

They reminded me of the "curse of knowledge" described in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die... and had me thinking about assumptions and re-evaluating my own website experiences.

These are the ones that caught my attention:

#5: Dark text on a light background. I prefer it to such an extent that the opposite stresses me. I run away. Dark text on light background is a classic for a reason: it works.

#9: Website addresses are hard to remember. I love that Chrome is more forgiving of typing partial web addresses. The point here is to include ways to subscribe and bookmark your site to simplify remembering addresses. Don't forget to reserve variations on your name.

#13: They don't want an experience... They want service. Example: Simple, clean, no special effects. [What about these Website Irritants Guaranteed to Drive Visitors Away?]

#16: They aren't enticed by mystery. Better to be clear, straightforward, and transparent. No tricks. No deliberate misdirection.

#17: They get lost a lot. So, be helpful with robust onsite search, clear navigation and a user-friendly 404 error page. I like the suggestion to review your online analytics to determine where customers have problems.

#19 They don't search for your name. This is one I bring up frequently. Customers search not for your name, but rather based on a search query. [The corollary is that you and your employees are the only ones to search just for your name.]

#22 They need to want. And you need to know how they express those wants. Take advice from Lori Magno as she describes how she listens and researches to know how customers find her jewelry.

Do read the entire list as I'd love to get your perspective. What questions do you regularly ask yourself? What have you observed with your customers and their online behavior?

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