Your Best Conversion (and SEO) Resource

March 22, 2007
By Robbin Steif

Your best conversion resource may be just one person, or an enormous group of people. Perhaps you are a tiny company with an admin who answers the phone (or you answer it yourself). Perhaps you are Lands’ End, with a room the size of a football field, filled with CSRs talking to customers. Either way, you have an amazing resource that you may not have tapped.

Your customer support staff knows what keywords people use when they call, looking for a product. They know what products customers love. They know what things about your website drives customers crazy (both crazy good and crazy bad.) They understand why people can’t convert and abandon carts, preferring to pick up the phone.

Hey, I did it when I made the reservation for Starwood Hotels. I already blogged once about the problem with that shopping cart, but the really awful problem was, the cart didn’t recognize my Starwood number, which I had cut and pasted from Starwood’s email. “Oh, it always misbehaves on the weekends,” the CSR told me. Well gosh, why doesn’t her boss ask her opinion?

Not that long ago, I was working with a customer on some multivariate testing. “Why don’t you ask the customer service reps what they think needs to be fixed?” I asked. “We’re really good about being an inclusive company,” he replied (and they are, they just won an award for some kind of inclusiveness.) But after he asked them, he was suddenly snowed with ideas from the front lines.

Not only will your admin or your customer service reps have a lot of ideas (free for the taking) — they will probably love that you asked for their help. Oh sure, someone will say, “That’s your job, not mine.” But I bet that for every one person who has that attitude, ten more will be flattered that you care. Just about everyone likes to know that they make a difference.

I sure do.

Robbin Steif