Customer loyalty is invaluable to any business – big or small. Word of mouth advertising is hugely important, and it’s easier to retain existing customers than bringing in new ones. So, it’s no surprise that businesses are constantly looking for ways to develop customer loyalty and build a stronger “fan base.”
Sometimes, though, loyalty strategies can come across as just another marketing ploy. People tend to see through that quickly, and might actually be put off by it. In fact, 69% of consumers in the U.S. don’t trust advertisements.
There are plenty of things you can do to build a loyal following, from connecting with your audience on social media to providing positive customer service experiences with every interaction.
But, because your website is how many people will first discover your business (and quickly judge it), you can start to develop loyalty naturally by ensuring a positive UI design and accessibility for everyone.
So, how can you ensure your website is gaining your loyal customers, rather than turning people away? How can you build upon that accessibility in other areas of your business?
Consider customer needs
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 2 billion people around the globe with some type of vision impairment. Those impairments can make it difficult to navigate websites that aren’t accessibility-friendly. Other common disabilities that can impact a person’s UX on a site include:
- Hearing impairments
- Mobility issues
- Learning disabilities
When you’re putting together your website (as well as social media platforms and any client sites you create), keep these common factors in mind. Considering your audience’s needs will make it easier to improve your online accessibility. As a result, you’ll be more likely to reach new audiences.
Businesses that take the time to make their website more accessible usually see an increase in sales of over 20%. That’s because such a small percentage of businesses take the time to make accessibility a priority. But, with literally billions of people dealing with a disability every day, UI needs to be a positive experience for everyone.
Make positive changes now
If you understand the importance of accessibility but aren’t sure how to get started, one of the best things to do is to work with an experienced web designer or programmer. They can typically put together anything you want for an accessible site. But, you still need to have a basic plan in place.
So, what should an accessible website include? Here are some strategies you should be implementing into your interface right away:
- Using alt text
- Implementing assistive technology like screen readers or magnification software
- Using HTML markups
- Choosing accessible colors
- Ensuring the sight can be navigated with only a keyboard
- Using descriptive titles for links
There are countless ways to make improvements to your site. One of the best places to start is to consider what the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) use to categorize design considerations. These are questions you should ask yourself about your site before, during, and after you upgrade it to be more accessible:
- Is it perceivable?
- Is it operable?
- Is it understandable?
- Is it robust?
By consistently reviewing your site and thinking about these questions, you’re more likely for it to remain increasingly accessible for anyone in the world who might have a special need or disability.
Foster accessibility beyond your website
Your goal should always be for someone who clicks onto your website to eventually take the next step. That might include talking to a customer service representative or making a purchase. People want to feel connected to the businesses they shop with.
So, once you have an accessible website that includes an easy-to-navigate interface, take the time to train your employees on accessibility, too. If a customer runs into an issue, your employees need to know how to handle it quickly, especially when it comes to accessibility. They need to be aware that people use the web differently and may be coming from different backgrounds.
Training on things like respectful language, sensitivity, and how to answer specific questions can be extremely helpful in ensuring your customers will feel comfortable with your team.
When you train your employees on how to handle conversations the right way, you can also encourage them to get to know people personally. If you have a larger business, you might not know every customer by name. But, developing connections is an important factor in building loyalty. Send out a survey after a purchase, or have a representative make a phone call asking about that customer’s experience. The more you learn about your audience, the more you can cater to their needs.
No matter what type of business you own, the competition can be fierce. Growing your base of loyal customers should be a top priority, and it can start with accessibility. Keep these tips in mind for a better UI on your website, and a better overall experience for every member of your target audience.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college, he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and digital marketing are his favorites. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.