Think like a Buyer - BMA Breakfast Round Table Follow Up
Written by Erika Schell-Rompré Thursday, 23 February 2012
Yesterday morning, did you use your credit card to pay for a coffee or a bagel? Was it inserted, swiped, or tapped? There is no standard. Intuitively, we don’t even know or remember how to insert, tap, or swipe our card at each individual retailer we come into contact with on a daily basis. We all stop, even if for only a few seconds, to look at the machine and assess where the metallic strip or chip needs to make contact.
So on this morning, BMA attendees were asked to pause for a minute and think about usability from a buyer’s perspective. Hendrik-Jan Francke from Bright Orange Thread (a web design/SEO firm) led the discussion and defined usability as “methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.” By looking at your Web site, sales process, or service offering from a buyer’s perspective we realize that what may seem intuitive to our business may not be straightforward to our clients or potential clients. Hendrik-Jan emphasized focusing on consistency and adopting a usability mindset to better understand buyers’ expectations. “Buyers’ expectations for your company’s sales process are shaped by all of their previous experiences.” One of the challenges “is that we know too much, you know your company inside and out.”
Discovering the roadblocks that prevent you from reaching key audiences or the hurdles clients have to jump over to do business or even communicate with you is the first step. For example, clients that would like additional information do not want to take the time to fill out a lengthy Web site form, including their blood type, just to request additional information. Check your Web site analytics and see when and where people are leaving your Web site.
The second step, look for broken tools. Are people using objects incorrectly? Hendrik-Jan pointed out that buttons at certain gas pumps are just plain worn out from people pressing the wrong button. The reason they press the wrong button is due to poor instructions. Think about the tools that you are using in your trade shows or marketing materials: are they effective or are they creating confusion? “Do you find yourself mocking customers who didn’t get it?” Hendrik-Jan cautioned attendees to “listen to employees and co-workers, who are just as important as customers.”
Step three, check your “water cooler stories.” If you are placing blame on customers for why something went wrong, you need to take a step back and analyze your processes so that they are user-friendly. Feedback and/or testing will provide key insights as to where some of your roadblocks exist.
So put your usability hat on, identify the hurdles, be consistent and shorten your instruction list to create smoother sales experiences.
And for the record, I drink tea and swipe on the right.
Erika Schell-Rompré |Chief Marketing Consultant & Coach