Read Me First
Nobody ever reads the instructions.
Okay, maybe some people do (like me!) but, in twenty years of building custom-made websites and software systems, I can count on three fingers how many clients read the instructions for their shiny new site.
And that’s okay when you have someone on hand to help when you later want to change or fix something. Which you will… as your website is an evolving thing and needs love and attention on an ongoing basis. We’re talking post-launch support and how to plan ahead for anything you – or your customers – may need.
You see, it’s not just the little tweaks and changes you would like to make going forward. Users / members / shoppers on your website may also need a helping hand from time to time. Plan for this – and have systems in place in advance – and not only will your customers have a positive experience on your website, but you won’t be bothered by requests for forgotten passwords or reminders to login interrupting your time or your team throughout the day.
That means time better spent on planning your next product or service improvement to take your business or charity forward and reach more of the people you want to work with.
And let’s be honest – how often are you really going to bother updating your website if each time you do, you have to call someone else and ask for “a quick reminder” on how to login and make a simple change?
So where and when do you start?
The latter is easy – before your website launches, make sure you have a written copy (or even better, video instructions) of how your website content management system works – and try this out for yourself. Ask your developer for a hidden test page that only you can see, when you / your team can have a play without fear of displaying any errors to your waiting public. This gives the less-technically-minded a safe space to practice and overcome any reservations around making changes, so they’re ready to help when you need it.
For your customers; review your new site as they would – or ask someone who’s not yet seen your website to do so and document their experience for you. Simple interactions they have on your site which may seem perfectly obvious to you or your developer, but does it make sense to the public? Start with a list of these points in your website where the customer has to interact and anticipate any queries they may have, such as:
- Where to login to their account (is the button to this blatantly obvious?)
- Entering their password (is there an automated reminder system)
- Frequently asked questions (could an online Help Bot answer these and save your team precious time?)
A site we created for a national chain of care homes makes great use of this feature on their site, with an automated Help Bot addressing simple queries on a daily basis. This has been extended to support not only existing customers in need of reminders for logins and enquiries, but also answering those regularly-asked initial queries from potential new customers – reducing demands on staff time and moving them further along the customer journey without any effort.
Work your way through the list you come up with (remembering you can always add to this later as your experience of using the site grows) and plan ahead for huge success with little effort.
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