Bells and whistles on a website may be fun, but I’m starting to think they’re more for the website owner’s benefit than for the customers. There’s a school of thought behind web design that seems to be if you have the capability, throw it on your site! Video capability? Let’s get it up there! Music? Sure thing. Flash animation, pop-ups, registration forms, survey requests, the list goes on.
My personal pet peeve is the music that comes blaring on unsolicited when you open a site. And you can’t find the little volume control anywhere. Inevitably, I end up quitting out of the site, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does.
In addition to the decorative doo-dads on a site, there are the countless logins, memberships and requirements that can be a hindrance to people visiting. A new survey conducted by Econsultancy, the Customer Engagement Report 2011, backs that up and concludes that simplicity is the most important customer attitude regarding marketing to them. Marketing companies and agencies were asked, Which of the following types of customer attitude do you think will be the most significant in the next 12 months? “Desire for simplicity” was the top choice of more than half (54%) the respondents, followed by a three-way tie of attitudes mentioned by 42 percent of respondents: Desire for more real-time interaction; Focus on quality; and Intolerance of poor customer service.
What struck me was how these customer desires are right up your alley as home-based travel agents. Simplicity, one-on-one interaction, focus on quality and customer service…these are all hallmarks of your business and what people come to you for. In the ongoing backlash against online travel agents, these qualities will continue to pay off for you.
Just remember, keep it simple.