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5. "Let Me Build My Knowledge"

Because Web sites are not the only medium that customers have to find out about companies and their products, they expect Web sites to "make sense" in relation to all of the dealings and exposure they have with a company.

Customers expect businesses to tell them more than what they already know, not repeat everything they've already been told without offering anything new. It also sticks out like a sore thumb when known parts of the business or product offerings are obviously excluded from the Web site.

If customers already know your company, they expect to be able to learn more.

Of course, this directive is largely to do with integration; integrated marketing and customer service. And this is something we will explore in more detail later in this book.


Incomplete offering

Consider a telecommunications company that offers connectivity to the Internet through an ISP (Internet Service Provider). A customer goes to the company's Web site to find out about its ISP's rates relative to their current ISP. But, mysteriously the company's Web site makes no mention of its ISP. The customer is baffled and confused as to why such a relevant service would be missing from the Web site. They then find out, in "other links," that the ISP has a separate Web site, so they go there. But, they still can't understand why there are two Web sites. Both sites may represent two companies, but they're all part of the same service as far as the customer is concerned.

Insufficient interactivity

A customer who is evaluating different mortgage options goes to the Web site of a financial services provider. The customer has already gathered information from a few other Web sites and is hoping to be able to decide among them. However, when the customer gets to this particular Web site they find the available information to be nothing more than what they already have in the provider's brochures. The Web site does not provide the customer with information relevant to their particular situation. Chances are that this company will not win the sale as the customer moves on to check out the next Web site.

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