I have just had an interesting experience.
I subscribe to newsletters, blogs, forums, RSS feeds, tweets, etc etc all over the world, on many different issues, to keep up with trends, stats, and word of new developments, in many sectors.
I sign up to receive information from websites, more than just daily.
And I have just been knocked back by a potential supplier. For no good reason except idiocy.
To explain, let’s imagine you are a widget dealer in the US. You might not be hugely interested in exporting your widgets right now to Europe because of the dollar rate. Or because the media are busy telling all of us how bad the economy is.
But I might be very interested in buying your widgets, covering the shipping and currency costs, and potentially becoming a very loyal customer in the future. Right now, I stand to make a fairly hefty profit selling your goods in the EU into an empty niche in the market.
But you don’t know this. Nor do you know that everyone is thinking like you and battening down the hatches and there is a market opening for a risk taker like me.
I just need a supplier. Whom I can contact easily.
Who are you to say whether, without knowing me, I have found an alternative use for your product? Or a new market? Or that I am willing to take a risk? Without hearing from me, you won’t ever know that I exist, will you?
So, why, when asking for more info in an online form on your website, have you failed to look beyond the US and accept that not only might my UK zip code / post code be wrongly formatted compared to US ones, but my phone number might not conform to your standard number of digits either?
I have just been totally frustrated by a form for a company I really want to get in touch with. Their email address bounces, their online form refuses to accept that I may live anywhere other than Alaska to Yukon, and if I didn’t know some other tricks, they would have just permanently lost a potential customer.
And the CRM system behind the site now has a ton of duff data in it!
Luckily, I am determined when it comes to finding where and who people are online, but many others are literally just one click away from your competitors.
If you do only one thing today, go and look at your website with an eye for OPPORTUNISTS.
All over the world right now people are seeking opportunities for investment. These opportunies may not occur in their own country, but are very likely to be occurring in other nations. This is what the global marketplace is all about.
You can’t be expected to be every one of those people or companies seeking opportunities, and think of the amazing ideas they have, but you can at least be ready to hear from them.
If your website locks these chances out, because you have taken a parochial view about who your customers might be, then you are the loser.
Your business stands to lose potential commercial opportunities that will stand the test of time – because you have good customer relationship management, imagination, a great product, and more – just because you have a form set up by a webmaster who thought all your customers would be in the same geographical region as you for ever more.
A quick checklist for every single company out there with a website right now:
- Check your email address is not bouncing.
- Check your form works WHICHEVER country in the world a customer may live or work
- Check that your phone numbers are up to date and FREE. Call them back, add LivePerson, anything but capture that call from an interested party.
- Add Skype, get a Facebook page, whatever it takes for people to get in touch.
Basically, make sure that your customers can connect with you. NOW!
Or throw the entrepreneurs of this world from your doorstep and don’t ask them to come back.
Many of you seem to be…..check you are not one of them.