How Websitey uses Customer-centric principles to drive value

Websitey
5 min readJun 26, 2021

By James Ward, Project Lead at Websitey

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

At Websitey, customer centered thinking is what we build our business around. It is the big rocks we’ve placed into our foundation first. We want to make sure that our Customers feel valued and heard.

When preparing website audit reports, data analysis reports or an SEO strategy, we always consider, will the Customer appreciate this, and find value in it? Will our Client feel that we’ve actually taken the time and effort to hear them?

Considering, as a Project Lead at Websitey, a Customer centered mindset leads me in making sober decisions and preparing a solution for our Customers. For example, if a Client requests a Wordpress website with woocommerce integration for their business, we don’t then respond by delivering a blogging site. Business Owners who has minimal knowledge about websites and digital strategies, sometimes far too easily accept these hard sells, hook, line and sinker. It is not right.

So, what guidelines do we use, and how do we do it?

Here are three practical ways in which these principles help us to win new Customers and referrals on a continual basis:

1. Take the time (and truly make a great effort) to actually hear their problem.

I’ve discovered in the digital marketing industry from time to time, that there’s much talking, but not much listening.

We are also Customers in any buying cycle now and again. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve explained your problem in tremendous detail to a business, designer or sales consultant? You’ve communicated on the phone and rehashed it on email, what exactly it is you need. I’m sure you have.

Since you have a more or less idea of how the solution should work for you, you’ve went to great lengths to explain (even provided diagrams and examples) how the cogs and wheels will work together to create a harmonious solution. In the hope that the designer would hear you, what you received in return is something completely elaborate and complicated. Time, effort and most often times, money has been wasted. As a Customer, I felt let down and disappointed, because I expected the sales person or designer to solve my problem as accurately as possible. Most times what happens is (even after trying to explain again), we move on, hoping to find the solution that suits us.

We have first hand experience in this. A Client needed rescuing. They needed urgent help. They needed to get their project done within a timeline,suitable for their Client who was going to host an Event, and needed basic automation. They approached a web development company, to assist them. They required mailchimp automation on their existing, well-functioning website. Simple right? Well, what they received in return was a proposal and budget to redesign the entire site, with full woo-commerce, content creation, CDN integration and of course the mailchimp automation functionality. Of course, the budget which was presented was prohibitive, in excess of $6000 to begin with. That web development company didn’t listen. They missed it.

I got to thinking about this after visiting a well-known local restaurant, which we visit from time-to-time. After ordering a steak. They ask me, “how would you like it Sir?” To which I reply, “medium please.” When the steak is plated and brought to my table it is well done. Very well-done. They didn’t listen. Was I delighted? Did I enjoy the experience? Did I feel valued as a Customer?

Case in point:

A Cape Town tour bus hire company was needing to help everyday customers with quick pricing guidelines when visiting their website with pricing questions. Perhaps those customers weren’t ready to make a booking yet, but needed some type of cost guideline for any type of tour. The same principle applied to their Johannesburg clients looking for a bus to hire. It was a simple solution. For Cape Town and Johannesburg we discovered, to begin with, and after numerous discussions, a basic content creation Wordpress webpage was built. We took their budget into consideration as well. This webpage focused on coach hire pricing scenarios, that would solve their problem to a certain degree. Later, functionality will be built to funnel those customers faster. To get an idea, see the Cape Town transportation rental pricing guide here.

If we cannot listen to our Customers, and understand their problem, then how can we build a solution? Therefore, listening to Customers is 99% of solving the problem.

Listen well, add value and thereby delight and win new Customers over.

2. Build and design for your Customers’ business, not yourself.

Designers design for themselves, and hope that the Customer will like it. This is too risky.

Notably, web designers and developers can fall into the trap thinking that they know what the Client wants, without understanding the brief in full context.

Customers vary. Some know WHAT they want. Others know WHAT they want, and HOW they want it done. Lastly, some Clients have a vague idea what they want and will rely on your expertise to bring their vague concept to fruition.

This portion is similar to the listening and understanding principle mentioned in point 1 above. The difference here is that in this case, we take the time to hear the briefing. But then we build a website solution which we as web developers think the Client needs. This is too risky.

In order to design and build for our Customers, we must first understand the business of our Client, and the ins and outs of their processes. We cannot design for what we think they need (and want).

3. Build for what the customers’ business needs.

The problem: Customers vary
To explain, a Customer who knows what they want and how they want it do be done, means that they have thought it through. They’ve deliberated on functionality, colour schemes, images and all the rest. Yet, when we start building, as web designers we sometimes build and design amiss. We design what we think they want (and what we think they need). As a result, some Customers may not be happy with it, and not verbalize it. Others will outright reject it. Not forgetting, clients with a vague idea have the potential to consume more of your time, since the iterations of the site build needs to “hit the spot’ for them. This can all be avoided.

The solution: Add value by building and designing to solve your Customers’ business’ problem
In order to add value to a Clients’ business, we must give them what their business needs in order to solve their problem. We must investigate and inspect their business. We must understand it.

We will therefore delight our Customers by helping them solve a business problem, which they may have been struggling with for months. This all starts by understanding and taking the time investigate the ins and outs of the business we’re setting out to help.

At Websitey, our focus is set to build and design affordable Wordpress websites based on what our Customer’s business need. We’ve learned hard lessons not to build on what we think our Customers need, or what we think they want. With the principles of listening, understanding and investigating we will never compromise on what we deliver to our customers. We work from this platform today, and will continue to help our customers unlock value in 2021 and for the years to come.

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