Why bother?

Hopefully, no one knows your business better then you do. You live it, breathe it, it is yours. So logically, the best person to critique your business' website is you, surely? Arguably, no.

Sure, when it comes to the details about service descriptions, price lists and how the business was founded, you'll know best. As for navigation, content, design and many more elements - these things should be defined by the end user. That's not to say that a business owner knows nothing of what their customers want from a website but, until you actually ask, you can never be sure. Usually, people from within the business are too involved in it to look at the website from an outsider's perspective resulting in bad assumptions! I tend to call this 'in-house syndrome'.

Not only does website feedback allow you to improve your website, it can completely change your business operations. For example, finding out that most people who visit your website prefer to pay online rather than over the phone could inspire you to offer online payments thus satisfying more customers and potentially increasing business income. 

When to ask for outside feedback

There is never a wrong time to get constructive criticism on your website. If your website is brand, fresh-on-the-server, new then you might think it's too late - the site is built and done - however you can still act upon certain points of feedback like the written content being 'too wordy' or not descriptive enough. Of course, when you've just unveiled a shiny new website the last thing you want to hear is that your end users don't like it but it's better to know than to think otherwise. Yes, it might cost extra to 'change where the menu button is' or to 'get rid of the flashy video because I don't like it', but if doing so results in happier customers, that can only benefit your business long term.

Asking before you start a new website build might be the best time as it allows you to bake the requirements of your customers into the design, but asking at all is the important thing. Even if you've had the same website for 7 years and it's 'doing fine', it can't hurt to reach out and find out what your customers are thinking about it.

Who to ask for website feedback

The more opinions you can get the better. Ask new customers, existing customers, fellow business owners, your dentist, family members and friends. Ultimately you want to build the site for your customers but having as many people offering input as possible is helpful. 

Some of the best people to ask, depending on the size of your business, are your employees. Consider the opinions of your admin staff as highly as you would the board of directors because they might know just enough about the business to provide valuable input but not so much that they are blinded by 'in-house syndrome'.

The most important thing is to get a good sample size of potential end users and to make sure it represents your overall customer demographic; there's no point talking to 15 American teenage boys if your average customer is a 44-year old mum of three living in rural Wales. If your feedback group isn't representative, your website will be out of touch with those who use it most.

How to ask for website feedback

So you know when and who to ask for website feedback, but how is the best way to go about gathering such information? It depends a lot on the 'when'; if you're asking before building a new website, the best way might be to set up a small focus group of existing customers and have a real-life chat with them about the current website and how it could be improved. If you're asking about a website that has just been made live, then you can try using online feedback collectors that prompt a user for feedback.

Regardless of the collection method(s) used, make sure effort has gone into the questions you're asking else the resulting data might be useless. Asking every website visitor to rate the site out of 5 stars might give you an indication of whether people generally like the site but you're getting zero context, no improvement suggestions and no real actionable information. On the other hand, being too specific in your questioning (i.e. "Do you like the way that the third section of the About Us page slides in from the left after you scroll down?) will result in bloated surveys that no customer will want to fill in.


A vital part of all Devetecho projects

With every project Devetecho takes on, a big significance is placed on giving a business' end users what they want not what the business owner thinks they want. To talk more about getting customer feedback on your current or future website, email howdy@devetecho.co.uk or call 0121 517 0121.

survey.jpg

Prefer a chat?

Sometimes the easiest way forward is to sit down and talk about things; what things? That's up to you!