HEY , Where are you? – Why your company needs to Google itself

I recently explained to a group of managers why they should google themselves. After the initial “what, me? I’m not famous!” responses,  they see their search results , look intrigued, and then get it – the dangers of a badly curated digital footprint. But although many of us have gotten into the habit of doing this as a check on ourselves, I’m not sure that many businesses practice this.

In this guest post , Tim Smith – someone I rate as a “go to” source for advice about Generation Y and Z – explains why companies need to start with the basics if they want to provide a great customer experience:

A few weeks ago, I drove to a local business because they stocked a few items that no other business did.  Like many members of Generation Y (and Generation Z), I used Google Maps to locate the address that was listed on the website and drove accordingly.  I encountered one major obstacle: they didn’t exist according to the physical location.  As I learned a few days following, Google Maps pointed to the wrong physical location.  After speaking with friends, I learned that this is a common problem – they try to visit a business, using a mapping tool, yet the business doesn’t exist at the location where the mapping tool points.  What is the result?  Almost all responded that they find another company which exists where the mapping tool points.

Walking in their shoes

Before we swear that this is not a big deal, let’s be the customers for a moment.  Imagine driving twenty minutes to a business by following its website address and arriving at a wrong location.  Then imagine calling the company, after losing twenty minutes, and asking them where they are actually located.  At this point, we’re feeling, at least, a little frustrated.  Depending on the attitude of the company’s representatives, we might feel better or worse – but we’ll still be annoyed that their website address was wrong.

When we think about it, customers give us time and money.  If we have a physical address, the least we can do it give them right address.  If we give them the wrong address, the least we can do at that point is apologize profusely and offer them a discount – after all, it was our failure, not theirs.  How can we ensure that our customers can find us?  And what can we do when they can’t because of our error?

Google It.

Easiest thing to do - Google your business

Easiest thing to do – Google your business

Seriously.  If we are going to run a business, we need to Google our business.  If we’re a brick-and-mortar shop, can we find it?  If we can answer yes, “good” – if not, we need to consider that customers will experience similar (or the exact same) problems.  Let’s contact Google immediately and get that corrected.

Also, do we have an image of where we are located on our website?  If we respond “no” we should correct that immediately.  The steps are quite easy:

1.  Using a mapping tool (like Google Maps), locate the actual address.  If the mapping tools point to the wrong location, find the right one.  Make sure that common mapping tools all point to the right location – for instance, Google Maps might, but another tool might not.

2.  Take a screenshot of the correct location and using image-editing software (something as basic as MS Paint), mark your location with a colored geometric shape, like a red circle.

3.  If the mapping tool identifies the incorrect location, it might be a good idea to also put – in a different color and shape – that location so that customers can see where the mapping tool points, yet where the business is actually located.  Remember, we want to make it convenient and easy for our customers to find us.

4.  When adding the map to the site, below the map, write a synopsis of the address.  For instance, “Turn right at Street One, and left at Street Two.  You’ll see a sign that shows ‘Turner Business’ and that’s us!”  This helps customers find us visually and verbally, as it paints a fuller picture.

In this example, the red arrow points to the right location, the blue diamond indicates the wrong location

In this example, the red arrow points to the right location, the blue diamond indicates the wrong location

Done!  This may take as much as fifteen minutes, but it’ll help ensure that we don’t lose customers for the simple reason of our location.

Respond quickly

Respond to questions like this ASAP

Respond to questions like this ASAP

So, what about these Generation Yers that couldn’t find the business on the map?  They gave up and found someone else.  Why?  For several reasons:

1.  Where we are is basic.  If we can’t even tell our customers where we are, have we encouraged our customers to trust us?  Think about it: we’ve wasted their time.

2.  These Generation Yers tried connecting with no success.

If a customer can’t find us, they won’t be happy.  They might reach out (which, when we think about it is a gracious act) and they may not be happy when they do, as we’ve already wasted some of their time.  We should always make it easy for customers to reach us and reply quickly.  If a customer sends us a message (in some form), “HEY WHERE ARE YOU GUYS LOCATED?” this is not a time to sit around for a few hours and wait to reply.  Let’s respond immediately and by accepting responsibility for our failure (because it is): “Very sorry for the inconvenience, we’re left on Second street.”  Also, when we do greet our customer, let’s find out what they were using that pointed them in the wrong direction and correct that error as soon as possible.

Conclusion

By following these simple steps (it won’t require more than an hour), we can show our customers that we respect their time and money by helping them arrive to the correct location.  We can also sidestep worrying about an angry customer, who lost time trying to find our business.

Bio: Tim is the lead researcher consultant at Y Research Partners.  He advises companies on Generation Y and Z, as well as helping companies build strong technical marketing teams.  He can be found on Twitter @echoboombomb. His must read blog is located here

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