How to Make Your Customers Hate on Your Website

Jun 03, 2014 5:36 PM  By

When it comes to optimizing your website, ignorance is not bliss. Capturing constructive feedback is critical to building a site with a strong conversion rate that maximizes the potential of every customer.

Sometimes, online merchants opt to add things to their websites that they think are aesthetically pleasing or on the “cutting edge of web development.” But quite often, these features only cause confusion, and ultimately, shopping cart abandonment.

The biggest challenge to building a website that converts is convincing your customers to actually provide negative feedback. This tells you what isn’t working so you can make the shopping experience more intuitive and user-friendly.

If you build these features into your website, customers will complain (in a good way):

Open-Ended Polling

If you want customer feedback, use an open poll on your site. Ask things like, “Is there anything preventing you from making a purchase today?” or “What do you think of our new home page?”

Open-ended polling attracts less feedback, but the feedback you do get will be unfiltered, voluntary feedback from people taking the time to share their thoughts with you.

When customers do provide feedback — especially if it’s negative — they’ll want to know that someone is actually reading their comments. An auto-responder lets them know that their message was successfully delivered and that someone will be following up.

Closed-Ended or Multiple-Choice Polling

Closed-ended or multiple-choice polling still allows you to pose questions to your customers, but you get to dictate their answer choices. When asking a question like “What is preventing you from signing up?” you’ll provide possible choices, such as “price,” “return policy,” or “I could not find the item.”

Multiple-choice polls attract more respondents than open-ended polling because they take less time and effort to submit, but the poll creator restricts the feedback options.

It’s important to include negative responses and provide a way to follow up with responses to negative feedback. Link the poll to a “Frequently Asked Questions” page to answer common questions and resolve issues with customers leaving negative feedback.

Feedback Button

A feedback button invites customers to leave questions or comments. Since it follows them across all pages of your site, they don’t need to look for it when they’re ready to give you feedback or ask a question.

This feedback can be set up to create a “ticket” in the system so you can follow up directly with that customer.

Be sure the feedback button doesn’t interfere with your website’s content or calls to action. It’s never good when the majority of the suggestions in the suggestion box are about the box itself.

Customer Chat

To hold a productive one-on-one dialogue with customers, enable a chat function on your site. Live chats provide an opportunity to hear negative feedback before customers leave your site to write a negative review or visit your competitor.

If monitoring chats isn’t realistic for your company, you should at least give visitors the option to start typing in a question or issue with answers that dynamically populate based on keywords as they type. This prevents the visitor from getting even more lost seeking information and then abandoning your site.

Don’t Forget the Basics

As you outfit your site to collect customer feedback, don’t forget the basics. Even though most of these enhancements are newer, it goes without saying that your site should have a standard questions/comments box on your “Contact Us” page. Nothing’s more annoying to customers than not being able to find a real person to talk to when they need help.

While all negative feedback is important, don’t lose sight of the big picture. You have the power to make changes. Major feedback is something you should act on right away — especially if it’s preventing multiple sales opportunities — but it’s important to understand the difference between small user errors and global site issues.

Whatever you do, find ways to solicit feedback on your site. Whether that feedback is positive or negative, your customers will help you learn what’s working on your site and what’s not.

Danny Wajcman is the co-founder and Vice President of Sales and Operations at Lucky Orange, a service for website optimization and improvement.