Check With your CSRs.

The customer service reps at your company may very well hold the key to improving the navigability of your website.  And yes, that can include the president or the general office receptionist – whoever answers the phone on a regular basis. If you (or your workers) are continually hearing things like:

  • “Where do I go to send back a return item?”
  • “Do you offer XYZ-123 service?”
  • “How do I send in an engineering drawing?”

…then you MAY need to focus some attention on the useability of your website – looking specifically at the navigation elements.

A couple month ago, the folks at YouEye (an interesting, fast, online user experience testing lab) ran a great piece addressing this issue in their blog.

The piece suggests: “If your customer service team is familiar with some basic user-centered design principles they can begin to read deeper in to their support conversations. Maybe the users are accessing pages in unorthodox ways. Maybe the users are confused about product offerings. Maybe they are unhappy with the layout of the page.”

Enter a bit of cross-training between the sales and marketing teams (Hmmmmm…, seems like I’ve heard that before….) and voila, you can turn a teaching moment into a cycle of accessing real user comments. Training your customer service staff to be active listeners when customers vent frustrations about the website can actually be good for the CSRs morale.

The YouEye blog post referenced a 2010 Inc. Magazine article, talking about the most desired things you can offer to employees – including purpose, goals and responsibilities. Being an active contributor to improving the company website can help contribute to all 3 of those items. Then, it becomes a WIN WIN WIN when you empower the CSR team to suggest and perhaps even direct navigation changes on your website.

Finally, in the ” using everything but the squeal” department, YouEye suggests asking some of your disgruntled, frustrated customers to participate in user testing of your website. “While it may seem like an unhappy customer may simply be too cynical to derive usable feedback from, you might be surprised. Often times, customers are just worried about their opinions falling on deaf ears. Nothing shows a user that their opinion counts like being asked to participate in a user test.”

And if you need some help setting up a user experience test, come see your friends at NetTrack Marketing.