Once your business starts turning a profit, you should invest some of that money back into improvements and growth. However, it isn’t always easy knowing the best place to put your money and what might pay off and what might fizzle. The last thing you want after working so hard to earn an income is to throw it away without any results. While there is never any guarantee that investing in new software or upgrades for your business will result in more customers and better cash flow, there are some things that improve user experience more than others.
There are many different things which influence the experience of users on your website. These can be defined as the User Experience Honeycomb and include whether your site is desirable, useful, accessible, findable, valuable and credible. When seeking out business investments, look for things that will improve the user experience (UX) in at least one of these categories. You may also want to survey your site and see what areas you’re lacking in so you can funnel your investments into improving problems.
- 1. Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) software automates the process of staying connected with your customers. A good asset includes a system that offers reports based on past behavior so you can order enough inventory for the holidays or reach out to customers who might be most interested in a new product offering. How would it benefit your business to have software that automatically follows up with a quick email to buyers? There are various features CRM software offers either out of the box or as add-ons, so think about how your interactions with customers might most improve before deciding on a specific brand.
- 2. Employee Management Software
Keeping track of employee timesheets, payroll, who has a vacation scheduled and even birthdays and special events is a time-consuming task. Fortunately, there are some employee management systems that make everything easier. You may need to implement more than one system if you’re on a budget to avoid a hefty price tag at first, but there is software available for tracking employee time, automatically requesting and approving vacation time and even programs to handle payroll and direct deposits.
Paying your employees in a timely manner and accurately is arguably one of the most important aspects of keeping top workers. If you don’t pay people for the hours worked or their paychecks are late, they will quickly look for a position with a different company, perhaps taking their skills and training to your competitor.
- 3. Business Mapping
If you haven’t already mapped your business, there are many advantages to doing so. For example, if you have salespeople out in the field, mapping allows you to see who is covering what areas or where the competition has a stronghold. Business mapping software offers layers that let you filter choices and see things such as street-level detail, demographic data for an area or run a quick market analysis.
- 4. Mobile Responsiveness
While not a specific software, making a commitment to creating a mobile-friendly website is smart business that can give you a big return on investment (ROI). Website traffic from mobile devices accounts for almost 50 percent of all Internet traffic. The cost of data continues to drop, allowing people to be online more with the many limited plans on the market. As technology improves and speeds increase through 5G and future technologies, expect even more of your traffic to come from smartphones.
Expenditure on mobile web design ensures your site remains competitive. Pay close attention to all facets of accessing your website via a mobile device, including how quickly your site loads and the overall aesthetics of the design.
- 5. Customer Service Training
Did you know 62 percent of customers share a bad experience with others? However, 72 percent share their good experiences. The impressing the buyer walks away with can make or break your word-of-mouth marketing efforts, so make sure you fully vet and train your customer service staff. Investing in your customer service model is one of the most powerful things you can do for the reputation of your brand.
Customer service starts during the first interaction between your brand and the customer. If you put the needs of the customer first, you’re much more likely to have a satisfied customer at the end of the transaction. Write a thorough customer service policy guide. Conduct regular training sessions and teach service agents to problem-solve for customers.
- 6. User Research
Invest time and resources into figuring out what your target audience’s pain points are and how you can solve them. This might involve something as simple and running analytics on your site visitors or as complex as surveys. The more information you gather, the better you’ll meet the needs of your customers. Pay particular attention to any complaints you’ve received from past customers. Negative feedback often points to areas which need improvement. Everyone enjoys positive feedback, but negative feedback is the lifeblood that drives growth and change in your business.
- 7. Professional Consultants
Have you tried everything you can think of to improve the UX of your brand but growth is still stagnant? It might be time to pull in the big guns and spend a little money on a consultant specializing in UX. An outside consultant sees your company from a fresh perspective. Because they aren’t personally invested in the brand, it’s easier for them to see problem areas that need fixing.
- 8. Split Testing
If you aren’t already conducting A/B testing on your landing pages, you should start today. Even small changes can improve the UX and lead to higher conversion rates. For already existing pages, it’s best to start with a survey of your current customers. Ask them what they dislike about your pages. Gather all the data and then make improvements. If they said they hate the call to action because the wording isn’t clear, begin tweaking it and test the responses to the changes.
In addition to conducting A/B testing, you should do another survey and see if you’ve rectified the problem for the majority of your users.
- 9. Visual Impairment Testing
There are around 1.3 billion people in the world with some form of vision impairment. Some cases are more moderate, and others are severely impacted or blind. There are also people with color blindness, which can impact the way they view your site and how usable it is for them.
You may not realize the little things that make your site almost unusable for someone who has vision problems. Using certain colors together may both appear gray to the colorblind person. Alt tags are extremely important to those who are blind, as they describe images the person can’t see and are compatible with most text readers.
Use sites such as Color Safe to test for visibility and add Chrome extensions that let you view your site as though you are visually impaired. You can adjust the website, blurring it or losing contrast to see how it appears.
- 10. Wireframing
Investing in wireframing programs allows you to create changes without committing fully to them. Get feedback from others on your team or a client about whether they make sense and make the site more usable. You can even enlist the help of a few of your top customers and ask them to provide feedback on a prototype. It’s important to know if everything seems easy to use or some areas need more work.
There are numerous wireframing tools available, so choose one that fits your budget. Make sure it allows you to bring in enough collaborators to create a site that is effortless for the end-user. You can also use wireframing for the mobile version of your site or app creation. Some programs offer more detail than others. Decide if you just need the ability to show the website’s layout or you want to click on elements and see how they work in action.
- 11. Live Chat
In a survey of over 400 consumers, 52 percent indicated they are more likely to repurchase if a business offers live chat as one of their support options. You will need to invest time and resources if you want it to improve the UX of your site and not decrease satisfaction. Make sure live agents are fully trained in your company policies. They should have the OK to solve problems for customers so the person walks away happy with the experience.
Live chat should be part of your overall push for a better customer service experience, including other methods your customers can use to contact you.
- Spend Wisely
Improving your business model so that users have an amazing experience requires time and perseverance. Think about the investments that will result in the biggest payoff for your brand. Set aside a certain percentage of profits for new software or gathering expertise to help your brand thrive and grow. Putting funds back into your business almost always results in improvements and a stronger company.