CXM: Is Your Content Getting in the Customer's Way?

3 minute read
Gerry McGovern avatar

Most customers need another page of your content like they need another piece of spam in their inbox.

"The content people are killing the website," a web manager told me sadly. Twelve months previously the company had reviewed its website. There were lots of good things happening but there was too much clutter, too much stuff. It was getting harder and harder for the customer to find what really mattered.

The website had links and promotions and content for events that had finished years ago, but was still left up there. "Our website never poops," one web manager lamented. "We just publish, publish, publish, but nothing ever gets removed."

Everyone agreed that they needed to make the website simpler. And then Monday arrived and the writers sent their stuff in as usual expecting it to be published. And when it wasn't they stamped their feet and got their way and everything went back to the bad old normal.

Would you pay a sales rep based on how much he talked? We'll that's how most organizations pay content professionals. By the word. Churn it out. It's so Pre-Web, so print thinking, so counterproductive and negative. It damages everything, and most of all it damages the reputation of content professionals.

We have to measure the outcome on the Web, not the input. What did your content help your customers do? If you can't answer that question you should seek another career. Because long term there is very little future for the put-it-upper, churn-it-outer, content producer.

Another web manger sent me an email yesterday complaining that a content company was telling her that she must have fresh content because that's one of the best 'strategies' for keeping customers coming back to her website. For starters, keeping customers coming back to your website is not a strategy. At best it's a tactic and in most situations it's a terrible one.

Learning Opportunities

For a huge number of organizations keeping customers coming back to your website makes absolutely no sense at all. What's in it for the customer? It's all part of the Cult of Volume mentality. We should be focused on satisfied customers not repeat visitors. We should be focused on task completion, not page views or time spent on the page.

I have often been asked why I include my entire newsletter in the email I send out. 'Because many of my readers want to read it that way' is my reply. But aren't you losing page views, I'm asked? I have absolutely no interest in page views. I'm seeking influence and one way to get that is making it as convenient as possible for people to read.

Whether because of journalism or literature most content professionals are very poorly prepared for a career in the Web. They want to write, write, write when what they should be doing is remove, remove, remove. The Cult of Volume will not last forever. Its members will ultimately be exposed as time wasters.

Wasting your customers time is the biggest sin you can commit on the Web.

About the author

Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern is the founder and CEO of Customer Carewords. He is widely regarded as the worldwide authority on increasing web satisfaction by managing customer tasks.