You have spent (and continue to spend) hundreds of thousands of dollars on your website. You have a full-time staff to update the content, monitor traffic and enhance your site. The site is good, or very good, and your web designers are top notch. You’ve even branded your portal with a fancy name to add a sense of openness and community.

    Yet, traffic is below expectations and portal signups continue to lag.

    What’s in it for me?
    I am no psychologist, but people are wired for self-preservation and "what’s in it for me," or to put it another way, "what’s easiest for me."

    If you want to reduce call center volume and have more customers use self-service, then self-service must be more convenient than picking up the phone and calling the call center.

    If you want customers to switch to e-billing, then it must be easier and more convenient than getting a paper bill in the mail, and if you want to encourage electronic payments, then the same holds: It must be convenient and easy and quick.

    The key to getting more website traffic and increase the use of your portal is going to be driven by two factors:

    1. Relevant content—customers have to have a reason to go there.

    2. Ease of access to that content—it must be the best option for your audience.

    Easing access to your website content and portal
    Let me offer you a few suggestions, which have been demonstrated to a) increase web traffic, b) increase customer self-service, c) yield higher conversion rates to e-billing and e-delivery and d) grow electronic payments.

    1. Use email to deliver a bill or document; do not just email a link.
    • Sending the document as a portable document format (PDF) attachment (securely encrypted or not, depending on the document type) is as easy as opening a paper envelope and more convenient than sending the customer a link to your website.
    • Including relevant marketing and self-service links to your website (from the email and the PDF) will drive website traffic from people who never visit your website or register on the portal. Call center volume will decline, and you might even get some new sales from cross-marketing promos.

    2. Use the web and interactive voice response (IVR) to accept payment.

    • By enabling customers to easily go to your website to make one-time payments, 24/7, or allowing them to pay through an automated voice payment system accomplishes multiple goals:

    i. Save the cost of the customer service representative.
    ii. Grow electronic payments.
    iii. Make it more convenient for customers to pay, whenever they want.

    • Even better, if your business involves regular billing, get customers to sign up for recurring payments.

    3. Mobile apps are all the rage today as a way to enhance a customer’s online experience.

    • With so many people today using their mobile devices as their primary means to access email and websites, a great mobile experience is necessary.
    • Mobile apps are a great way to maintain customer communication on a regular basis: news, sales/marketing offers, statements, e-billing, to name a few. Plus, you can use location-based technology, like GeoFencing and iBeacons, to target customer communications.
    Customer communications is an evolutionary process. You should leverage your investments and enhance customer communications by building a multi-channel capability around your website and portal. In the end, you will have a more loyal, and profitable, customer and a better return on your investment.

    Richard Rosen is the chief executive officer of The RH Rosen Group, a firm that provides solutions to help businesses improve processes and customer communications with the intent to create real, recurring benefits in: cost reduction, electronic payment, shipment tracking and printing/mailing. Contact him at RichR@RHRosenGroup.com or visit www.rhrosengroup.com.

     

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