Customer Experience News & Trends

7 more reasons customers will run from your website

Your website is often a customer’s first point of contact with your company. And you know what they say: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

We’ve already highlighted the seven biggest website blunders that will drive customers from your site. Now it’s time to address some of the second-tier website mistakes that will also chip away at the customer experience.

Here are seven more reasons customers will abandon your website:

1. It can’t keep up

Customers pay a lot of money to their Internet service provider (ISP) for a fast Internet connection, and they expect your website to not only load fast but react fast as well.

If your site doesn’t load within four or five seconds, customers will start to get cold feet. And if the first link or navigation option they click on fails to bring up a page immediately, you can kiss them goodbye.

Some compelling stats compiled by the web development software firm SmartBear:

  • A one-second increase in load time could cause 11% fewer pageviews, a 16% drop in customer satisfaction and a 7% loss in conversions
  • Sites that load in one or two seconds convert at twice the rate of sites that take four or five seconds, and
  • 74% of visitors will leave a site if it doesn’t load on their smartphones after five seconds (more on mobile optimization later).

Site speed is something that can diminish over time, so you’ll want to check it periodically.

Here are two tools to help you determine if your pages load fast enough:

Site too slow? There are a number of issues that could be the cause. For example, there could be coding mistakes on your site, your photos may be too large or the problem could be with your ISP.

2. It requires a plug-in/upgrade

Bottom line: Unless someone’s running a web browser from 2005, they shouldn’t have any problems viewing your site.

Test to make sure your site loads without any issues on the vast majority of the browsers in use today. Your site shouldn’t need to ask for any browser upgrades or plug-ins.

If a plug-in is necessary to show off a product — or to satisfy a web designer’s need to demonstrate his or her creativity and web savvy — make sure your site doesn’t ask for the install on the homepage or any major landing page.

3. It’s not optimized for mobile devices

At this point, if your site isn’t optimized for smartphones and tablets, it’s costing you business.

Here’s how crucial mobile optimization has become: In a Google survey of U.S. smartphone users 50% of respondents said they’ll turn to a company less often — even if they like the business — if they don’t have mobile-friendly website.

Adopting a responsive design is the latest trend. It involves crafting the code of a site so that its layout changes depending on the device a user accesses it with.

Responsive design’s definitely an involved process. And if it demands more resources than your company is willing to part with, at least adopt these best practices:

  • Design for the scroll. A single narrow column will render well on a smartphone and a tablet without completely hurting the customer experience for computer users. In this approach you’re just asking customers to do a lot of scrolling, which they’ve become accustomed to.
  • Use large fonts. Your text should be at least 12 pixels, and Apple recommends making it 17 to 22 pixels to make it optimized for iPhones.
  • Anticipate the tap. The finger is the new mouse. But it’s not as accurate as a mouse, and you’ve got to account for that. So make sure your navigation buttons are large, while creating enough space around them so users won’t accidentally click the wrong link.

4. Multiple steps are required to order

Fewer steps equal more conversions. It’s as simple as that.

The more you ask people to do, the fewer there will be who’ll actually do it.

The biggest no-no when it comes to getting customers to place an order: requiring them to log in or create an account.

It’s a huge turn-off. First of all, people hate creating passwords. It’s just another thing they have to keep track of. Secondly, it’s unnecessary. Yes, you want to collect their data. But at the very least give them the option to log in as a guest.

One other thing you’ll want to do: Cut the amount of info you need from a customer to the bare minimum.

Some of the things that are nice-to-haves but you don’t really need:

  • Gender
  • Job title
  • Company
  • Industry
  • Phone number (this is a big turn-off; besides, their email should be sufficient), and
  • State — if you’re asking them for their zip code, too.

Remember, the less you ask for, the fewer customers you’ll drive away.

5. It contains dead ends

Your website should flow naturally from one point to the next. Horizontal rules and separators, and changes in background color disrupt that flow — and a customer’s train of thought.

Multiple calls to action also serve as a kind of dead end. It’s like coming to a fork in the road and trying to decide which direction to take. It can be paralyzing to customers, who want to be shown just one way to go.

Make sure you give them a strong road map by building your site around one, overarching call-to-action.

Like we mentioned in our earlier rundown of major website blunders, having no clear, singular “call” equals a confused customer.

6. The copy and links haven’t been double checked

You’ve got to make sure someone is proofreading your website regularly — and we’re not just talking about looking for typos.

Some of the things you need to check for:

  • grammatical mistakes
  • that content posted years ago is still accurate (if not, edit it or take it down)
  • copyright dates haven’t gotten old, and
  • all of your links and navigation buttons still work.

Broken links can develop over time as pages containing outdated info are inevitably taken down, and you may not even think to check for them until you see an inordinate amount of bounces coming from one page.

Be proactive. Check for broken links now — using tools like Broken Link Checker — and redirect customers from those dead areas to other relevant parts of your site.

 7. Forms automatically reset

Ever filled out an online form only to have it completely reset because one minor detail was wrong? It’s infuriating, isn’t it?

No matter how long your forms are — 5, 10, 15 questions — you’ll lose major customer experience points if they’re wiped clean when a customer tries to submit one with a missing or incorrect piece of info.

Test vigorously to make sure the fields that are entered correctly are saved in the customer’s browser — even if they’ve made a mistake and need to resubmit the form.

Otherwise, what will be wiped away are your customers.

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