What sneaky pitfalls are ruining your customers’ experience?

Image by S K from Pixabay

By Katie Tejada

If your small business is experiencing uncommonly low sales or conversion rates despite the quality of your product or service, your problem may come down to poor customer experience.

Even simple improvements to the user experience can put you a step above your competitors, but it is sometimes difficult to ascertain what changes need to be made.

These three steps below are the most common pitfalls we notice in small businesses. Read on to learn how you can improve your customers’ experiences and stand out from the noise.

Outdated and limited payment options

If your primary source of sales is online, it is more critical than ever to provide flexible and quick payment options. If you have a slow or cumbersome payment process, you will turn off casual shoppers or send them to your competitors. Your business should be able to accept credit cards online hassle-free.

To attract international shoppers, you should try to accept as many credit cards or online payment options as possible—but not without performing a cost analysis to determine if credit card processing fees will be worth it to your business in the long run. You naturally do not want to lose a sale, but you should take care to not fall prey to predatory credit card fees, either. Ensure you’re working with a payment processing company that has a good relationship with banks and credit card companies to avoid unnecessary fees.

Outdated payment technology is also a red flag for security risks. Even if your payment gateway is entirely secure, if it merely looks old or unappealing it might come across as a scam. There is no faster way to lose sales and conversions than by making your customers doubt the security or confidentiality of their transactions. Update your payment software to the modern era or work with a payment processing company that keeps it up to date for you.

Poor website usability

If your website is difficult to navigate, users will be quick to jump to another site for the same product or service. Your website’s design and functionality are paramount to your success.

“Giving your branding consistency and a clear message is key to any successful company,” says Dan Broudy, CEO of rushIMPRINT. “You should be able to showcase your personality, mission, and design in a straightforward way that attracts and engages users.”

It’s not enough just to make your website and branding visually appealing. It must be intuitive enough to use easily and quickly. If you’re navigating your website and find yourself asking at any point where you are or how you need to get to the next step, your design is lacking. It must be intuitive enough to where your eye and mouse movements naturally lead you to the right information. It also has to be quick: the majority of users have incredibly short attention spans.

The following are absolute essentials of modern website usability:

-Breadcrumbs

-Visible navigation bar

-Header and footer with clear contact information

-Contact page

-FAQ page

-Mobile compatibility

-Fast loading speed

-Up-to-date SSL certificate

-Accessibility for the visually or mobility-impaired (refer to the guidelines on HHS.gov)

There are many methods to test if a website has efficient usability. Usability testing is a widening field of study and a growing profession. Hire a professional UX designer to test and/or design your site for optimal results.

If you can’t afford to hire a UX designer, find someone who has never used your site and watch how they interact with it. Give them simple tasks to perform and watch and listen as they encounter difficulties or hindrances. You may also hire professional remote usability testers online to do this for you, who will provide you with thorough notes on their findings.

Inefficient marketing and search engine optimization (SEO)

It makes sense that your website will not be profitable if it doesn’t appear in search results. For your website to get noticed, the product or service you’re offering has to appear as high as possible on the results page. SEO makes all the difference, and it’s not as daunting as it may seem.

Even if your business pulls in most of its sales from its brick and mortar location, SEO is critical. People use the internet to find physical shops and services more than ever. You can SEO-optimize your website or social media pages to encourage people to make an appointment, contact you for information, or come in and visit. The more places you are on the web, the higher the chance you’ll have that customers will drop by.

If you need help doing this, look for a SEO marketing agency that suits your budget to solidify your back end code, create regular content, and create links internally and externally to make your website appear more credible. It can take time to build up credibility and boost your rankings, but it’s never too late to start with organic SEO optimization.

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Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate, finance, law, and investing.

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