After spending thousands of dollars creating a beautiful website with targeted content that looks great on every device imaginable, it’s easy to think that that’s all that needs to be done. That’s what some website providers would have you believe anyway.
After the customer hits SUBMIT on the Contact Us form or BUY NOW on the Shopping cart, what happens next? If the website is a silo that is not integrated with the rest of the business, the answer will most likely be that this critical information will be delivered by email. Email is great for personal communication, but for business critical functions it fails. What happens when the email system goes down, or Mary is sick and all the emails are stuck in her inbox?
From there, what do you do with the order or enquiry after receiving the email? Probably type or copy and paste the details into another system for ordering or delivery, and then again into another system for invoicing or accounting. This is not a business system. This is a website and an accounting package held together with email, manual processes and a hope that it will all work out. Key features of tracking, reporting and trust in the data are missing.
The blame has to lie with website providers that sell “interactive” websites with nothing more than a simple newsletter signup form and a Contact Us, which just delivers an email. This is not enough. These businesses can operate for a while, but soon the cracks in the process will start to appear and they will lose customers as a result. Some website providers also convince small business that their whole business can be run from the website using their custom built Content Management System (CMS) with their e-Commerce and Electronic Direct Marketing (EDM) bolt-on options. This is a great tactic for the provider to sell more services, but it ties the business into a system that they need to work around more and more as they grow.
The worry is that these providers are often the first person with technical knowledge that a small business owner comes across. It is easy to be enticed by the buzzwords of “content marketing”, “going viral” and “top ranking in Google”; add to that terms like e-Commerce, payment gateways and security certificates and it quickly becomes overwhelming.
Sales and Marketing is important but without exceptional delivery of the product and services, the chances of repeat business and referrals from that customer are slim at best. It’s not enough for the website to be “responsive”, the whole business needs to be responsive to the needs of the customer.
End-to-end integrated business systems are a necessity for even the smallest business. This does not mean that a small business needs to invest in enterprise level software that cost more than their entire turnover for 3 years; there are software options for even the smallest budget and even a good manual system that is documented, tracked and repeatable is enough to get started with.
The most important part is to think through the whole process – plan out all the steps in the process from initial contact with the customer right through to billing, payments and how the customer comes back for repeat business. A website provider who churns out websites for many different businesses each year is not going to ask the question about what happens next in the business process and how the data captured on the website is going to be used by the business – they are focused on the website, not how the customer is going to be invoiced 3 months later.
It’s not just about the website, it’s about all of the business systems working together in an integrated way.
So, take a fresh look at your website – is it serving your business, or does it serve the website provider as a showcase site for their services?
Can The Detail Department help you get your business systems integrated? Call us now on +61 2 8005 6840.