Monday, March 1, 2010

Your website is your face

"Your website is terrible, I mean I spent 30 min trying to find a product I know you sell, but couldn't.  I ended up buying it from Sigma instead. You guys need to do something about that, seriously!"

This is an exact quote that I overheard at vendor show at the University of California-San Diego last week (I immediately wrote it down.) The lady was visibly upset, but genuinely trying to help.  The rep was apologetic and sympathetic and back peddling.  He too thought their website sucked and even said he had complained about it repeatedly.  Clearly it wasn't the first time he had heard this complaint.

Never forget - Your website is your face!  People are more concerned about their face than any part of their body.  Its the first thing you see of someone else.  You can tell their mood, their hygienic habits, whether they are lying or not. We spend billions on products to make our faces better. 

Your website is your company's face. Its the first thing scientists see.

The culprit in the above transction - Roche.  I spent a few minutes navigating their site this weekend, and she is right, its a nightmare.  Its hard for me to believe that a company as large as Roche can't figure out how to produce a decent website.

In all seriousness, $50-100K likely buys them the best website money can buy. 

$25k and its functional. 

Google Site Search is free (plus a $100 for a programmer to install it on their website). 

Yes that was FREE! Never try to out google Google, why bother you have more important things to do like sell kits and antibodies and $500,000 Mass Spectrometers.

Sales staff - Its time to take action.  Complaining will not get you heard in a company as large as Roche, but action will. If your company's website is getting complaints, take action yourself today.    Remember money will always get the attention of the bean counters. If you aren't making your numbers point out that online sales and your crappy website are the cause. 

Do one of these today -

1. Find a great programmer, find an AB tester, find a user interface expert, find an SEO expert. Solicit their ideas and send a memo to your superiors (with four bullet points).  Email me or comment if you need some direction on this. Rehearse these bullet points and have them ready for the chance encounter with someone in your company that can make the change.

2. Solicit letters from your best customers (not PIs, they dont buy your product remember). Send them to your boss or post them by the water cooler late at night if you are scared to be seen.  If your company won't read them, send them to me and I will post them here anonymously for you. The internet gets the word out faster than you can imagine.

Take action and become indispensable! Your job depends on it.  

(yes, I know I took indispensable from Seth Godin)

1 comment:

  1. Good call. Roche is but one of the many Life Science Company websites that are difficult to navigate, search and buy from. Its not hard to get some feedback from your customers with free or inexpensive survey tools. Or just visit some labs and ask questions about which of your competitors sites are easier to use and why.

    Even easier, pick a random product out of your catalog, and see how many clicks it takes to find it and buy it. Imagine you are a researcher in the middle of an experiment and you need to quickly check a step in the product manual? How fast can you find it on your site? Do the same with your competition and then with Amazon and Target. How can you make it easier and faster?

    Work harder to make it easy for your customers to find and buy your stuff.