Monday, June 19, 2006

Electronic window dressing: Impression management with websites

The World Wide Web (WWW) has become a commonly used and one of the most effective mediums for businesses. One of the major steps towards e-enabling businesses is to have websites hosted in a public domain. These websites should use the latest technologies and create and maintain a good impression among prospective customers, partners and employees. Lot of tools, technologies and off-the-shelf packages are available for website building. Businesses should leverage these technologies and use them effectively in order to build an impression. This write-up covers the technology perspective of building websites and what are the general contents that can be hosted in the website so that it creates and maintains a good impression among its prospective customers, partners and employees.

When any person visits website of a particular firm, he/she goes through the contents in the websites by browsing thorough the links. After going through some of the links the user gets a collective experience, which in turn translates, into the impression. Websites should host contents that are useful for its various stakeholders in an easily accessible, experience rich. It should project what exactly the organization as a whole stands for and how doing business with the firm will end up in a win-win situation for both the firm and the customer. Following are some of the important areas which the website should contain:

  1. Core value system: The website should contain and clearly explain the core value system. This basically answers why should anybody need to do business with the firm compared to other similar firms.
  1. Simple interfaces: The interface should be very simple when somebody tries to access the website. For example Mindtree consulting (http://www.mindtree.com/) is one of the well-designed interfaces whereas Brian consultants (http://www.brainconsultants.com/) is one of the bad interfaces. All the successful businesses in the world have a very simple interface to their websites. Example: eBay, Google
  1. Knowledge management and knowledge sharing: In this knowledge era, the knowledge needs to be constantly managed and shared. The firm’s website should contain some of the knowledge that it has got over the years and should be readily in a form to read. This gives the user that the firm is interested in sharing the knowledge.
  1. Creating a “sticky” feeling: The website should create a stickiness among the users. It should make the users to visit the site and often read about the contents in the site. The user might have got to know about the firm recently and might not be in a position to do business at this point of time. But by creating a sticky feeling makes the user to come to the firm for a specific product or service after a long time. This stickiness can be created among the user by asking the user for feedback after the website visit and create a newsletter and e-mailed to the user promptly.
  1. Social responsibilities: It is important for the firms to become a good “Corporate citizens”. By taking up some of the social responsibilities it creates a general “feel-good” factor among normal people, which will in turn result in impression building and new business opportunities. The website should highlight what are the social or charity work that the organization is involved and how it is transforming people’s life by being a firm. Example Infosys foundation (http://www.infosys.com/infosys_foundation/index.htm)
  1. Eagerness to listen to customers: The website should contain details by which it can demonstrate that it is eagerly inclined towards listening to customers. Having the past customer testimonials help the new or prospective customers to know more about the company.
Shortcomings:
  • Bad interface design
  • Some of the links not working
  • Un-availability of important information
  • Outdated information about the firm
  • Cluttering the website with too much information that the user gets confused

1 comment:

Vasanta said...

Good points. Would like to add one point from my personal experience - I think a site map is must for every website. I have got lost on a website lots of times searching for some data :(.
This link doesnt work :(.http://www.brainconsultants.com