The recent problems Natwest have had with their Online Experience - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18575932 - only goes to show how critical it is for firms to look at their Website not as some near-commodity product divested to IT with a limited budget but as a core strategic asset that affects other parts of the business such as Marketing, Customer Service and so on.
The fact is when it goes wrong the repercussions can be pronounced and highly destructive to Customer loyalty & trust. The NatWest effect is therefore a call to action!
This effect is not just about a very public glitch causing a spike in interest. With the huge impact and potential of Social Media coming to the fore, the Online Customer Experience is as important to success now as any bricks and mortar outlet. In fact, it feels like it may be more so as the whole market changes with the convenience of apps, the ubiquity of iPhones, the increasing prevalence of advice websites like Tripadvisor and the increasing trend for consumers to look ‘at what others say online before they buy’: and that’s all before I have taken account of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and anything else that’s coming along.
This is also not just about usability – how many click-throughs, or what the font size might be – but about understanding that as a key touchpoint in the Customer’s Journey, the Website is essential. Yet at board level there remains an unfortunate inertia. Perhaps it is the average age of the board, that is a problem here but be warned unless you are looking strategically at your Online Experience then you are in danger of going out of business.
- Push Social Media and the Online Experience up the agenda – it must be a strategy not just a tactical imperative
- Use Customer Experience Management tools and techniques in its design
- Ensure the corporate culture adequately supports the Online Experience i.e., not just pushed to IT