During tough times companies seek ways of cutting costs, increasing performance and reducing risks. A new White Paper shows how a period of economic recession can be an ideal time to introduce a new generation website that can benefit both customers and suppliers in a variety of ways.
According to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of ‘New Generation Websites’: “In a recession customers need to assess alternatives and evaluate different possibilities. Suppliers that enable them to do this can generate goodwill, obtain incremental business and secure competitive advantage.
“Most companies are missing an opportunity to transform their relationships with customers and prospects. They are not using their websites to full advantage. Their focus is too often upon the superficial appearance of a website rather than whether it is functional, engages users and enables them to help themselves.”
The Professor’s research reveals: “Successful and unsuccessful corporate communicators and business development teams display very different approaches to using their websites to build relationships with customers and prospects.
“Many websites are not interactive. They do not engage or hold site visitors, build their understanding or enable them to help themselves. Struggling suppliers often shy away from complex and difficult areas and their websites are not updated as often or as easily as they should be.
“In contrast, a new generation of websites are transforming relationships with customers and prospects. More confident suppliers are making it much easier for users to quickly find what they need, understand complex issues, assess alternatives and design and buy bespoke solutions.”
Coulson-Thomas’ findings are clear about the advantages of new generation websites: “Users can be helped to do difficult activities as a high performer would, and checks can be built in to avoid quality, commercial, regulatory and other risks. Enabling site visitors to undertake tasks that were previously performed in-house in a ‘winning way’ can speed up responses and enable bespoke solutions to be quickly developed.
“Even with complex products and services on-line tools can be used to enable a visitor to assess their requirements and configure solutions. On-line support tools can automate routine tasks and provide support for every stage of the buying process.
“Suppliers who commission more interactive and supportive websites gain from greater user understanding of the relevance and value of their offerings and capabilities. Other benefits can include fewer errors, higher success rates, greater customer retention, less support staff, and increased order value as users may discover other offerings and additional possibilities while assessing their requirements.”
Coulson-Thomas reports: “New generation websites offer opportunities to both increase engagement, satisfaction and sales revenues and reduce sales and operating costs during a period of economic recession. Users of internet compatible support tools designed by Cotoco have reported large improvements in productivity and the ease with which best practice can be spread. Pioneers have achieved returns on investment of over 20, 30 or 70 times in the first year alone.”
‘New Generation Websites: Engaging and building relationships with customers and prospects’ by Colin Coulson-Thomas is published by Cotoco Ltd. Copies can be obtained by contacting +44 (0) 870 748 1400. The white paper provides a checklist of questions for reviewing an organisation’s corporate communications and website.
Over 4,000 organisations have participated in Coulson-Thomas’ Winning Companies; Winning People research programme. The findings are consistent across sectors, corporate nationalities and different sizes of organisation. The results are summarised in ‘Winning Companies; Winning People; Making it easy for average performers to adopt winning behaviours’ (Colin Coulson-Thomas, Policy Publications). The book which gives examples of new generation support tools can be ordered from Policy Publications.
Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of ‘Winning Companies; Winning People’ (Policy Publications) has reviewed the processes and practices of over 100 companies, helped over 100 boards to improve board and/or corporate performance, and spoken at over 200 national, international and corporate conferences in over 35 countries.