As an OSC, I’ve spent thousands of hours navigating builder’s websites (Pro Tip: exclude your team’s IP address from your traffic counts).
Web presence & OSCs are critical components of the customer experience and oftentimes serve as the first impression of your company. Your website and online sales team are facilitators of communicating the path to becoming a buyer and what your buyers can expect from you as a builder.
People are coming to your website with a particular purpose in mind and are hoping when they make the first click they’ll be met with speed, efficiency, design, and enjoyment.
When we partner with a new builder, one of the most critical steps of “onboarding” is for us to explore the website and present feedback on our experience. Through these evaluations, I’ve learned that OSCs not only see things differently but also see things that others are blind to.
Let’s identify a few blind spots and dig into a few ways to audit your website from an ‘online first’ perspective.
Get out of the driver’s seat…Watch someone explore your website for the first time.
Navigating your website is second nature for you. Most often I see website audits happen directly between the marketing team and web designers, with direct links provided or page navigation happening at lightning speed. This level of adeptness can create a “bias” in regards to how user-friendly your website may be. For the sake of auditing your website, relinquish control, hand over the keys, and watch someone “aimlessly” explore your website for the first time without instruction.
When someone ‘steps’ into your website for the first time, do they know what to do with it? Can they click, scroll, zoom, and interact with your website in the way that they’re expecting? What menus do they go to first? What types of pages are they visiting?
Not every website will be “intuitive”, and that’s okay so long as the learning curve isn’t painful. Monitor their patience and attention. Are they enjoying the ride? A satisfying website will start to feel like a road trip; where the destination slowly fades into the shadows of a journey filled with joy. By watching someone explore your website for the first time, without you like the map, you’ll learn what matters most to them based on where they choose to go.
Destination Information…Navigate your website with specific questions & objectives in mind
You know your communities, price points, floor plans, and features. You know what makes you different. Your website is designed with this prior knowledge in mind which can lead to gaps in the information that actually makes it to your website. For example, you know that your community is located 10 minutes from the nearest grocery store—does your website share that?
As OSCs, we provide prospects with education & guidance–sometimes conveniently linking leads directly to pages that provide the information that they need to further their buying decisions. When your lead is on their own, is your website providing them with the information that they need quick answers to?
Step inside the mind of a new home shopper and ask yourself the questions that you want to be answered NOW. This is the type of information that if you can’t find online, you’ll move on to the next company. Now, try to find that information on your website. Did you find it?
Change your view…Experience your website in multiple ways
It’s been said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. New home searchers are coming to you from different places at different times and in different ways. Your buyers have different lifestyles, abilities, and preferences. When you audit your website the same way every time, you develop blind spots.
While looking for a new perspective on improving your website, deliberately experience your website in multiple ways. Mobile, desktop, laptop, at home, in your car, at the airport, first thing in the morning, in bed at night…Not only will your view change, but your point of view will as well.
As OSCs, ONLINE is the first word of our role. We live, work, and learn online and are delighted that the industry of new home sales is welcoming OSCs into the big-picture conversations. As an online sales consultant, I’m excited by the upgrades coming to our industry and look forward to continuing to work alongside websites as a partner in engaging, nurturing, and converting home shoppers into home buyers.