BRIDGESENSE.COM
the Swiss knife of
Web & Mobile Development
  • Remaining Accessable

    I'm very accessible. I don't get into this ego thing.

    Scott Hamilton
    No one likes to pick up the phone and talk to a computer.  It is no wonder why companies that have used this method to shore up their bottom line are suffering.  This is because no one is indispensable.  Even government agencies aren't immune.  At the end of the day the cash always flows towards those who provide the best service.  That is reality.

    A website is no different.  Yet many companies today are taking the nightmare approach to provide support.  There is no phone number, email address, or any other method of direct contact.  The only immediate solution is to take a number or be buried in a forum.

  • Contribution To the Community

    I hate the giving of the hand unless the whole man accompanies it.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    The Internet is a community, an international one.  The access a business owner has to this community is a tremendous asset.  Small businesses have the same reach that large international corporations do at a fraction of the cost, time and energy.  There is an immunity to economic hardships, borders and language barriers.

    In this level playing field the key to success is the same for everyone - contribution.  Oddly enough, it is a subject that is rarely addressed during the conceptual stages of building a website unless it is already a part of the business plan.  Contribution will influence the style and presentation of the site.  It is also the key element that drives social media integration.

    Contribution is the act of acknowledging the community and remaining devoted to it.  Then the business owner only needs to listen to their feedback to reap amazing rewards.  This process is the most productive dialogue a business can take part in, because the sales material that is generated from it is timely, communicative, and relevant.

    Acknowledge the Community
    Demographics is a great tool.  It is a process where businesses can focus advertising campaigns to a narrow audience for a greater return on investment.  However in the context of an international community and infancy of social media, too much concern over demographics is unproductive.  The Internet is just too dynamic to sustain older advertising models.

    One reason is that a large part of the community can feel alienated by the website’s content.  Shifting attention from being strictly concerned about financial returns to a mindset of contribution means acknowledging everyone equally.  Since the mainstay of a website’s contribution is sharing information, that information needs to be relevant to the larger audience.
  • Thankfully this is a dying trend because those companies are eventually restructured or thrown to the wolves.  People today appreciate service enough to seek it out from those who are happy to help them.

    Be Vulnerable
    No matter what online social media tools are used to communicate with the customer, the solution needs to convey a sense of vulnerability.  It is this same human element that has allowed social media to transform online advertising.

    Being vulnerable is about being approachable.  The greater number of visitors will follow suit to how others are already interacting with one another and the website.  Even when all the answers aren’t available right away, vulnerability portrays a feeling of genuineness and concern.  In this context website support is rarely abused.

    A website should always be designed in a way that enhances support, not as a replacement for the receptionist.  Good support adds value to both the website and company.  It is an amazing image builder as the conversations that ensue continue to be available as a matter of historical reference.

    Friendship is a Service
    One of the most powerful attributes a website has to offer is accessibility. With the list of mobile devices growing rapidly, that sphere of influence has never been greater.  AT&T’s famous slogan coined back in 1979, “reach out and touch someone” has been aggrandized by social media.

    Making your company accessible and vulnerable opens up amazing opportunities with the technology available today.  Utilizing a website’s ability to draw customers closer to you personally should always be primary to the business plan.  Why work against human nature?

    Accessability  ⇒  Contribution
  • Sharing information is powerful!  It aligns people with the website’s purpose.  This contribution creates loyalty and excitement.  It engenders community.

    A website’s product may be expensive, but when it is relevant to a loyal following they will acquire the money to buy it.  According to ReadWriteWeb.com, "36% of social media users trust brands that have a social media presence over those who don't. 52% of those users are paying more money for a product from a brand that they trust."

    A website doesn’t need the community component if it designed for a particular purpose.  However, if advertising, search engine rankings, and visitor growth are important, these can not be accomplished without acknowledging the community.

    Remain Devoted
    A website’s relationship to the community is a long term commitment.  The dialogue between the business and their customers matures as the website becomes more influential.  What can start out as a token of experience eventually turns into a tool people will come to depend on.

    Imagine though, gaining all of that momentum and then not updating the website for several months.  Regular visitors lose interest because they lose the value they came to depend on.  A website that is rarely updated might receive a few hits during an advertising campaign but will not garner continued support from the community.

    Always Rewarding
    Regular participation is a benefit both to the website and the community it serves.  As the website gives more, the dialogue they receive in return is phenomenal.  Foremost, it is much easier to write content when feedback has requested something specific.  With this interaction the ease of which the content flows will be an inspirational experience for everyone involved.

    Business is never slow for those who sincerely serve others.  There is always someone in need who is looking for your experience.  A website is an extension of your business.  It is a contribution both to the local community and to the Internet.

    Accessability  ⇒  Contribution