Who is your website for?

There are two perspectives to view your website from.

  1. The site owner. This is you or your utility organization (i.e. electric cooperative, utility district, broadband or telco, etc)
  2. The site visitor. These are people outside of your utility organization viewing and using your website.

You probably feel an attachment to your website. Maybe you put a lot of work into it. Perhaps you have spent hours organizing the content to be helpful. Maybe you have crafted an entire section dedicated to explaining your goals and values.

One day, you look at your site analytics and see three web pages are getting 90% of your traffic. “How could people be so unappreciative of all my work!?”, you say. “Don’t they understand everything the website has to offer?”

Let’s think about it.

Consider a visit to one of your favorite restaurants. Visualize what happens. You come in, sit down, order your meal, eat, and then you leave. It’s simple. You got what you wanted and you’re happy.

Meanwhile, the restauranteur finds themselves frustrated. How could his diners not laud the innovating cooking techniques? Why don’t they appreciate the unique decor? Why don’t they tip your servers generously for their herculean efforts?

The diners — they come, they go… how could they be so oblivious to everything behind the scenes?

Many businesses find themselves in the same large grouping as restaurants — the service sector. The truth in the service sector is that customers are only there to get what they want, not to see how the sausage is made (unless you are the Jimmy Dean factory — by all means extrapolate on the art of creating breakfast meats).

As service providers, we often have a pre-determined vision of what our customers should want, what they should be thinking, and how they should act. Inside our utility organizations, it can be easy to be out of touch. We’ve all been witness to corporate decisions that are shockingly tone deaf to us as a customer. “Why won’t they just listen to what we WANT? I’m a paying customer!”, many of us have thought.

To me, it’s very gratifying when an organization is listening to customer needs. Utility organizations that are working their way down the customer wish list get our thumbs up. We’re thrilled when websites for electric cooperatives, utility districts and the like present the most obvious, most searched for links on their home page, using the language that their customers use (not internal jargon).

Good business serves your actual customer desires, not what you think they are or should be.

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “the customer is always right”.

Here’s a more accurate spin: “the customer [perspective] is always [the] right [perspective].”

Take the correct perspective and craft your website for your members or customers, not yourself.