Let’s say that you own a restaurant. And one day this review pops up on Yelp.
First of all the dining room was a total mess, like someone had set off a land mine in a plate of spaghetti. Half the tables were on their side and the ones that were upright had crookedly placed dishes all over them like they had just been chucked across the room. After hunting around I found a chair that wasn’t completely disgusting and sat down. I’d been here so many times but after getting my smartphone, things just haven’t been the same.
There was crud on the table and a small piece of paper that looked like it was a shred of menu. And then I realized it was the menu. It was so tiny, like a menu for ants! I couldn’t read anything. I pulled out a magnifying glass (I used to be a boy scout, so I’m always prepared!) and that made it a little better. The waiters were really disorganized so I had to go back to the kitchen to order. I mean, they seemed really polite and nice but I wouldn’t know because they never talked to me. They just don’t seem to have their act together anymore. But here’s the weirdest part; the food was fantastic, just like always! It hasn’t changed. Heck, it might even be a little better. But this place is just…so off now. How could they let this happen? Furthermore…what happened? I’ll give them another chance, but if this is what my experience is going to be like from now on I will regrettably have to take my business elsewhere.
You would probably be a bit peeved. The key to keeping a business open is goodwill and customer loyalty. This poor guy seems to be running out of both. And while the scenario seems ridiculous, it’s not far from showing what a website is like that doesn’t cater to mobile users. In 2014, a time where a new phone is a masive media event that gets people lined up around the block weeks in advance, not having a mobile app for a website is quite frankly just as ridiculous as those lines.
Why do we use the web? We use it to find information. And every single one of the zillions of informative websites out there provides a service. That’s the key word here. Service. You serve your readers, and in doing so it is your responsibility to give them the best experience possible.
It’s easy for any kind of business, be it an online enterprise or a brick-and-mortar deal, to fall into the trap of believing that as long as their content or product is prime they don’t need to put effort into the structure of how that product is delivered. “We have the best DIY website out there; why should I give a hoot about how my site looks on mobile? People like the articles so they’ll keep reading it anyway!” Yeah, guess what? They won’t. There are 5 million other websites out there about the exact same thing. Give them a good reason to stay loyal to you.
If you run a website then you are in the service industry. And while your content is the star of the show, if the rest of the production isn’t up to snuff, people will pick up on that and drift away. People know when they’re not wanted and your website’s design clues them in.
Imagine going to this same restaurant again. But now everything is set in order. Furniture is upright, surfaces are clean, menus are large and legible. The waitstaff even goes out of their way to make your experience last after you’ve left. “Hey we’re setting up a system to let you know when we’re having specials on burgers! Would you like to sign up?” A mobile app provides not only the same level of service, but can make it even more personal than a sedentary desktop site is able to.
You thrive because of your customers’ loyalty. And the second you take them for granted is the second they will find someone who does appreciate them. Do you have a website? Cool. You’re in the service business. And if you haven’t adapted to mobile web yet then your customers are receiving severe disservice. If you have WordPress, get a WordPress mobile app. Whatever you do, be sure that when your customers are guests in your business, you respect their patronage by letting them see you at your very best.