On average, it takes about 66 days to create a new habit (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit). Today, it’s been about six months since COVID-19 began to affect every American’s life. That means you’ve created new habits. Your daily routine isn’t the same. What is important to you isn’t the same. You’ve changed and so has everyone around you. Meaning those you used to know very well, you may know little about today. This includes your customers.
That top-tier customer you knew before COVID-19 isn’t the same customer you have today. She’s formed new habits and adopted new priorities. The coronavirus has forced many offline customers to become digital-centric. So, she may not even be your top-tier customer anymore. You may even have a new customer set you aren’t even addressing. Has your business adjusted to these changes? Because that “new normal” everyone said was right around the corner three or four months ago? It arrived yesterday.
Times Have Changed, but Digital Marketing Fundamentals Haven’t.
During recessions and economic downturns, many companies tend to turn inward, focusing on profit/loss as the main factor driving business decisions; after all, businesses are in business to make money. But when times are tough, is a singular focus on profits the best plan of action for the long-term success of your company? Harvard Business Review did a study of companies that came roaring out of the 2008 recession and found successful companies stayed closely connected to their customers’ needs during the recession, and made business decisions based on those needs (https://hbr.org/2010/03/roaring-out-of-recession). When facing adverse economic conditions, companies that stayed true to the fundamental rule of putting the customer’s needs first were those that survived the recession and outperformed their competition during the recovery. Now, you may think you’re a customer-centric company, but how do you know for sure?
User Experience Audits Can Help You Stay on Track.
How do you stay focused on your customer? How do you make sure your online experience is meeting her needs? A User Experience Audit is a great place to start. A UX audit is an analysis of your online presence with the objective of determining how well your presence meets the expectations of your customers. By combining user data, usability and design best practices, and a deep dive into data analytics, an audit reveals areas of strength and weakness, along with opportunities for improvement. If you did an audit in 2018, or even 2019, well…it’s time to do one again. Remember, your user has recently changed, and you need to conduct a new audit to remain customer-centric.
“No man ever steps into the same river twice. For it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” – Heraclitus
So, How Does A UX Audit Work?
A full digital user experience audit looks at a number of factors across digital channels.
It starts with an analysis of your website.
Your website is the central point, the hub, of your digital presence. It is where you want your customer to go to learn more about you, interact with you, and ultimately to do business with you. But, is what she sees on your site what she wants and expects to see? Your site may be the first impression she has of your business. You want to make sure the site is easy to use, easy to understand, and relevantly representative of your business. A UX Audit of your site measures it against usability and design best practices to provide you with an understanding of how well your site is performing today and what changes should be made.
And expands to social media channels.
Your website isn’t the only place online where customers interact with you. Businesses should be spending a lot of time on social media because their customers spend a lot of time on social media. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Reddit and Pinterest are all in the Top 10 of Most Visited Sites for 2020 (https://ahrefs.com/blog/most-visited-websites/). To ensure your user has a consistent experience across your social media channels, the UX Audit reviews your social presence against each channel’s best practice guidelines and looks at customer interaction.
Then to how people find you.
You need to get customers to your website. There are a number of ways to do this. Search engine optimization (SEO), paid search ads, display ads, social media ads, even other websites referring their customers to you all are possible ways to get people to your site. The UX audit will analyze how well you are using these tactics and identify opportunities for improvement.
And what they say about you.
Word of mouth is still the most trusted form of advertising, even when that “mouth” is someone you’ve never met who is writing an online review of your business. Reviews are everywhere and play a major part in helping people make buying decisions. Reviews are on social media, other websites (e.g., Amazon), even on search engines (one client of ours has over 26,000 Google reviews!). You need to make sure you know what people are saying about you, your products and services and, even more so, you need to make sure what they are saying is true. (Don’t worry, there are ways to manage a review if what is said is not true. And, one small tip, you should always respond to reviews about you, both good and bad.) Reviews can have a major impact on your business and knowing what customers are saying is important as you continue to refine your user experience.
Now Is The Time.
COVID-19 continues to turn our world upside down, and one way it is manifesting itself is by changing consumer habits. Due to wide-spread lock-downs earlier in the year, digital adoption has taken off. We have experienced 10 year’s worth of e-commerce penetration in the past three months (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/five-fifty-the-quickening). And the number of people shopping online today is what we were expecting to see in 2030 (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/five-fifty-the-quickening). Despite this trend, companies are struggling with the massive shift to e-commerce. Due to a number of factors from product shortages to poor online experiences, customers are hopping from brand to brand, product to product, and website to website now more than ever (https://chainstoreage.com/shifting-us-consumer-behavior-face-covid-19).
With the accelerated growth of e-commerce is your company ready for your customers’ new expectations of their ideal online experience?
We’re here to help you take your first step. Click here to schedule a UX Audit website analysis and learn how we can help you optimize your online experience to build better relationships with your customers to improve business performance.