Best PracticesIndustry News & Trends

Get Personal to Improve User Experience

Let’s face it, Google has spoiled us rotten. Seventy-four percent of us is gets frustrated when a site doesn’t address our needs.

The second an inquisitive thought pops up, we are heads down, typing into a search bar as fast as we can. The good news, technology always has our back. As quickly as problems pop, solutions are not far behind.

Companies are now able to customize their websites to specifically fit each unique user. That means companies can better provide unique answers and more importantly solutions to every customer.

Jim Yu recently wrote an article for Search Engine Watch titled “Knowing Your Customers: The Art of Real-Time Personalization.” This article details the transformation from the one size fits all information model, to a scenario in which companies can customize the user experience. This feature is a huge benefit to companies, as it creates a scenario where people are more likely to spend longer periods of time on a site. When customers spend more time on a site, they increase the site’s click-through rates.

So, how can we take advantage of this to create more value for our customers and increase sales?

Yu’s article explains 6 steps to follow to ensure you are improving the user experience for your customers. First, you must determine you buyer personas, meaning the different types of customers currently visiting your site. This can be done by speaking directly with the customers (we all do that), engaging on social media (you SHOULD be doing that) or collecting customer surveys (we all do, but do you do it RIGHT?), studies, and other types of analytical information.

The key to this first step is not rely on assumptions of what you may think your customer wants and instead use the facts and figures gathered and proven through outreach efforts. In this industry, I think it’s safe to say we’re guilty of *thinking* we know what’s right.

Once you have developed your personas, you can start to create content that will appeal to each persona. This can be bucketing the types of product each persona would purchase, the information they would like to see and even the images and design that would most likely appeal to a certain persona. This can be done by creating content for new car shoppers, used car shoppers and fixed ops – you see where I’m going…

Next, understand what the user is doing while on your site. Where are they coming from (email, social, paid, organic…)? Once on your site – where do they go? How long are they there? Did they submit a lead? You can’t understand how to improve user experience unless you know what users are currently doing on your site.

After you have created a high number of unique profiles you can refine your customization even further by using additional features, such as Geo-targeting. This will allow you to connect and offer content and incentives that are even more applicable to each user’s current situation.

Once the broader categories in which users fall into are created, you can further narrow with additional data programs that track user history on a site. Recommendation tactics can greatly improve a customer’s experience, while increasing customer retention.

Don’t stop with your website.

In today’s culture, everyone wants to feel special and unique. Don’t you?