You go out of your way to THANK THEM…
For anyone to take the time to give feedback on your site is a good thing. That way you can do what you can to fix things that you may not have known about. When a person complains you should at least look into their complaint. Now I am talking about good constructive feedback, not some person out there who complains about anything and really does not have the competence to provide good feedback. But a customer with a valid concern is something to be thankful for.
The other day we had such a customer come to one of our automotive eCommerce sites complaining that the site was so slow that she couldn’t get her order to go through. She then was concerned that here order was duplicated or non-existent (both bad things to happen on an eCommerce site). Well you can imagine when we got the message we were mortified. We had done a lot to make sure the site was as fast as we could make it given our limited resources. So that leads me to our first point.
Don’t take things personally…
The fact that we were mortified was a natural response but we could have taken that comment very personally thinking that the customer didn’t really know how to navigate the web or was just using a slow connection. But instead of ignoring the customer we looked into the complain right away to make sure there was nothing on our end that was wrong.
After review of the site we realized that indeed there was a problem, a huge problem. We checked the speed of our site and found we had gone from a previous rating of A to an F rating. That alone should merit our attention, but the bigger question was how could this have happened. I mean we scan this site often and try to make sure we are keeping everything up to date. Which brings us to my next point;
Let the right hand know what the left hand is doing…
Earlier in the week we had a meeting to make a few cosmetic changes to the front page of the site. We wanted to make sure that we got more text on the front page by featuring some of our newer blog articles. Currently the front page listed only products and a few blog posts built into the open cart system. We felt that by adding some featured content on the front page we could increase our organic traffic.
Well when we started to make those changes we did so without really letting the others working on the content know. So we had severely bloated articles with huge photos not optimized that were causing long load times. The articles had sat in that mode for about a day and just happened to be slowing the site down to a crawl when our customer was trying to place her order. So if we had planned this out a little better we could have prevented this error and optimized the posts for inclusion on that front page.
Once we fixed those images we went from an F rating to a low C rating. But with a little more digging we found what the main problem with the front page of the site was. And that brings me to our last point.
Do A Frequent Once Over of your Money Making Sites…
When we did the speed test on the site we uncovered the image problem right away. And that was a pretty easy fix. But as we dug a little deeper we found other glaring problems, and we found one that just blew us away. Apparently a new update on our open cart theme actually re-added a Google map on the very bottom of our screen. I mean you had to scroll down all the way to the bottom of the footer to even notice it.
Now at first glance the map looked great and in my mind it wasn’t big enough to cause any problems. Then I was thinking this is an eCommerce site and while we get some local customers the bulk of them are worldwide so why do we have a need for the map. But I figured it wasn’t bad to just leave it there. Boy was I wrong because the speed test brought up about 100 errors that the map was throwing and most of them were load issues.
So we quickly removed the map and voila the site went from a D or low C speed rating back up to a B+ rating. So we did not get quite back to our A rating but with a few more tweaks I am sure we will get there. So lets wrap this baby up and sum up what we have learned.
So in the end and with a tremendous amount of thanks to our observant customer we were able to make changes to our site that could have been even worse if we had let it run unchecked. Also thanks to our customer we were able to re-dedicate ourselves to doing some of the things we have outlined above. So thanks to our conversant customer who had the willingness to reach out to us and tell us of a problem.
Remember customers dont have to do this, they can easily just not shop with us again and we would be none the wiser. But a rare few break through and help you, and hopefully you will embrace that help and make the changes so customers will flock to your site once again like like an eighties band to hair spray (hopefully you eighties music lovers will get the reference).