Adding Enough InformationCreating a More Self Sufficient Website
Taking website customers more effectively through the process of information gathering to conversion while reducing the amount of time you need to spend on the telephone to achieve it is a challenge to many webmasters and online businesses. Initial and seemingly obvious answers like removing telephone numbers from web pages and allowing only other forms of communication, or introducing a premium rate number have more in common with more negative dissuading than positive persuading and could therefore impact negatively on conversion. A ‘harder working’ website that covers more aspects of the whole conversion process is needed.
The term ‘conversion’ describes a big task and a big potential change i.e. keeping attention, increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and essentially persuading a non buyer to become a buyer. This process has a strong relationship to ‘hard’ theories of communication and advertising. A.I.D.A. (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) best represents this kind of process in websites visitors / people who you communicate with online. The skill in this case is to cover many more bases in the areas of ‘Interest’ and ‘Desire’, anticipate and answer more questions, and therefore reduce the need to pick up the phone.
Customer ‘Involvement’ in a purchase has long been recognised to be increased where there are higher risks involved to the purchaser e.g. higher financial risks, products overtly relating to our public image / self image, and of course where important business decisions are concerned. One effect of greater involvement is a greater need, and a wider, more extensive search for information. Where there is a perceived degree of complication and lack of knowledge this can only increase information search efforts, or even bring about a kind of perceptual defence or avoidance of this process. Where online business is concerned, a perceived ‘easy route’ in these situations often involves a phone call. From the seller’s point of view this can use valuable time resources, with potential high real and opportunity costs.
Increased Content, Information and Persuasion
As part of this process, certain kinds and ways of presenting content and providing information, reinforcement, and re-assurance can work to reduce the need for incoming telephone calls. Below are suggestions as to how your website could become more ‘self sufficient’ in this way.
Using a Telephone Answering Service
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
A Glossary / Jargon Buster
Simplified (and annotated) Diagrams, Flow Charts, Decision Trees, Graphics
Testimonials, Reviews and Recommendations
Case Studies / Featured Customer Information
High Quality ‘Site Architecture’
Interactive ‘Live’ Online Support
High Quality Email Support
High Value Web Content
Flash / Animated Tutorials
Frequent Communications and Newsletters
Accurate and Clear Shipping Information and Delivery Estimates
The Effective Use of Informative Advertising and PR (Online and Offline)
Estimating / Calculating / Quoting Engines and Interactive Software
Self Service Tools
Providing Plenty of Web Based Calls to Action / Buttons / Links
Providing a Detailed ‘Visible (html) Site Map
PDF Downloads for More Detailed and Technical Information