Do you need a Website Concierge?

by John H
5 minutes

Can somebody please help me?

Front Desk

You are a successful company that has a huge online presence.  People use your site for everything - finding information, purchasing products, booking appointments etc.  Basically clients use your website for everything. So what are you doing about those customers that are upset? Or can't find what they are looking for? Or can't check out? Or don't have a computer?

What are you doing about all of the problems you don't even know about? Is there some invisible (yet simply solvable) obstacles that you just don't know about that could take your business to the next level?

Perhaps you need a Website concierge.  In a nutshell this would be a human being whose sole purpose is to answer questions, point users in the correct direction, and monitor the pulse of your business and its online presence.  One of the biggest complaints for big companies is that it is impossible to get in touch with a human being from the website, and even when they do it is a bad interaction.

Scenario: I'm a 18 year old high schooler getting ready to graduate high school.  I've got a few college schools in mind that I'm considering for the fall semester.  This one school is near my home, has the program that I'm interested in and it seems the price is right.  The school's website is informative, but what I'd really like to do is tour the campus.  I can't seem to find anything on the site about booking a tour.  I'm sure the information is somewhere, but I can't find it and I'm getting frustrated.  All of the contact forms and numbers are for Financial Aid or the Registrar, but I just want a tour - something without a commitment. So I start calling people. I call up the student center; they tell me to check the website.  I call financial aid - they direct me to the website. At this point I hang up - and continue my quest at another school because clearly no one at this school knows what is on their website.  How great would it be to actually talk to a person who's sole responsibility is the website and its content?!?!

In the scenario above, every personal interaction ended with a reliance on the website - however the website was the reason for the personal interaction.  It could be easy to say that the website is at fault - that a user should be able to find the tour information better.  This is wrong because that information may not even be on the site.  How can finding the information be the problem when that information could never be found?  Even if the student realized the content didn't exist, that still doesn't fix the problem.  How will the school ever find out that they need to put tour info on their site?

"Your website is missing information about tours", "I can't find the contact form", "I don't know who I should contact. . .", "Your website looks weird on my Phone", "I can't complete my purchase because I when I click the button, nothing happens", and the list goes on and on.  These are problems that can truly hamper your business, but how would you ever expect to solve these problems if you don't know about them. A web concierge should be familiar with all of the content on the site.  This person would quickly be able to say  - "Oh we don't organize tours, but our recruiters would gladly show you around campus." Not only could the concierge answer the problem, but they could also remedy future issues by getting that information added to the site.  A web concierge wouldn't be just a search engine, but also a research device for user experience.

Problems a Web Concierge could solve

  • Answer Questions (content)
  • Get Feedback
  • Identify issues with Online resources
  • General customer service - put out fires
  • Seal the deal when your website can't or a user is just really lazy - "Why do it if someone else will do it for me?"

Does this interaction have to be over the phone? Not really.  Does it have to be immediate and always available? Not really.  Does this person need be technically proficient? I don't think so.  Would I need a whole team or just one person?  I have no idea.  These are questions that only you could answer and would be different for every business.

Maybe a web concierge is a silly idea. Perhaps jobs like guest services or directory assistance or online member representatives can service this need just as well - and that is fine - and good for you. But if they all blindly rely on this tool, your website, without being able to address issues with it, then that is an invisible obstacle.  Your customer service managers have to be involved with the tools that are used for interacting with users.  This is all about customer service and bringing that aspect to the web.  Your website is not just a tool to defer clients to; it should be a platform for helping clients achieve their goals - be it ordering a widget, learning more about your services, or scheduling a campus tour.