The Student Applicant Journey

Do you want to increase your applicant conversion rate?

insight6 has completed a comprehensive study to understand how potential students feel when applying to UK colleges and universities. 

The study was developed to understand how effectively online applications, interviews and virtual events are handled so that we could identify what goes well, best practice and areas that can be improved. The finished report is possibly one of the most comprehensive studies on the applicant experience ever undertaken by an external customer experience research organisation. 

Inside the report, you will find our top tips on all the key touchpoints along the applicant journey from the initial browse of the website through to the final offer and virtual event. 

Some of our key findings were: 

  • 14% of applicants received no acknowledgement that their application had been received 
  • Only 22% felt they had been given sufficient information to help them prepare for their interview 
  • 36% felt that entering their qualifications in the online application was not easy to complete

Each of these touchpoints is crucial in forming an important relationship and building the potential student’s trust in your college/university. 

If you would like to understand how your applicants feel when they apply to your establishment and how you can convert more enquiries and applications, then please reach out for a conversation about how insight6 can support you to achieve that.

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Lockdown impacts our ability to stay positive

Whilst ‘Lockdown negatively impacts our ability to stay positive’ might seem like stating the obvious the underlying trends from the insight6 Business Optimism survey are interesting.

Since the second lockdown has been imposed in England, business optimism has fallen by ten percentage points. However, the largest group of leaders within the optimism survey were optimistic, with more than 50% of leaders stating they felt optimistic about the future of the business.

The number of business owners who are sitting on the ‘Optimism fence’ has remained consistent with just under one third describing themselves as unsure about the future. The biggest shift has been in those leaders moving from being optimistic (64% to 54%) to not optimistic (7% to 15%).

So what can we learn from this?

1. Those who are optimistic feel supported in their business by the government interventions such as the furlough scheme and are using this time to prepare for the recovery.

One business leader articulated this perfectly in why they ticked yes to feeling optimistic “The government are providing an element of job security for employees following the announcement of the furlough scheme, we are resilient and adaptable and will find a way through”

As we referred to in our findings from week two if you are in business then asking yourself the question “what can I do?” given all the constraints and barriers to trade is the source of resilience, motivation and ultimately an optimistic outlook. As one of the business leaders described in his reasons for being optimistic, “I feel like businesses are still looking for ways to grow despite the situation.”

2. For those that are not optimistic the prospect of more uncertainty is creating fear for the future and a lack of energy to deal with the constant changes to the circumstances.

One leader summed up why they are not optimistic with “it is hard dealing with the constant changes, I have no trust in the decision-makers and I am tired with it all”

3. Those that are unsure about the future describe lacking the clarity to know what to do next and in this state are focused on the problems more than perhaps the possibilities. “a new lockdown, more uncertainty for many businesses makes it difficult to plan”

To wheel out some of the cliches of our current time – we are where we are and the only thing we can do is to make the best of it and use any time we have to be kind to ourselves, look for the opportunities and build back better.

Using this time to create some clarity for yourself and your business is vital for your wellbeing and motivation by talking with your colleagues, engaging with your team and your customers. instant insight is providing a rich source of leadership insight which we can share with you. What can you share with your community that would benefit not only you and your business but also your customers or clients?

We would love to explore this further with you and share what we have learnt from the benefits of instant insight for our own and our clients’ businesses.

Six Customer Experience tips to protect your business

During these uncertain times the core focus of all leaders is to protect your business by strengthening the relationship with your customers and looking after your accounts.

In this article, we will share six CX tips that we know will protect your business.

1. Identify your top 10%

In order to protect your customers, it is important to identify the ones that financially and futuristically will have the greatest impact on your business over the next two years. Quite often who we think are our top customers, are actually more middle of the table. So if you look at the customer spend over the last 12 months and rank them and then look at which customers can grow the fastest with you and rank them again and then put the two scores together you would have identified your top 10. Depending on the size of your business often the top 10% of customers can equate to more than 30% of your business.

2. What would be the impact if…

Ask yourself the question "what would be the impact on my business if one of my top 10 customers were to leave and move to my competition?" Not only could this be an emotional blow but financially it could be game changing. And then the secondary question to ask is what do I need to do now to prevent that from happening?

3. Are you listening?

It never ceases to amaze how little customer listening goes on within the business world. We conduct a high proportion of business in the professional sector and when we ask our clients about their top 10% and what their customers say when asked how they feel about them, the majority of replies are” we have never done that.” So asking your clients / customers on a regular basis how they are feeling at a current time, is possibly the best investment you could make. It will identify if they are happy and if they are not, what you need to do to put it right. Most of all it makes them feel special you have asked and secures the long-term relationship.

4. How are you listening?

Since the pandemic began we have had an influx of new customers who have required help with listening and how to go about this most crucial of business tools. There are two solutions to this opportunity. The first is to have an ongoing feedback system which asks on regular intervals how the customer is feeling. This system should allow all stakeholders in the company to see that feedback, to benchmark it against your competition and if the feedback is good link it to a review site. Our system is called instant insight and we will be more than happy to demonstrate this to your business.

The second most popular method conducting an in-depth interview with key customers to unearth “the good, the bad the ugly” to help your company strategically plan for 2021.

5. Use the customer experience data to increase revenue and profit

You can’t argue with data. It is what it is and allows you to make a compelling argument in your organisation to the changes required to improve your customer experience. The biggest challenge within organisations is doing something with the data. We often witness lip service being paid to feedback programs where the feedback has been conducted but not a lot has been done with the data. For example, no real tangible actions have been taken following the feedback. Developing a proper plan and involving a CX specialist (here is a link if you need a local one!) you can develop a concrete CX plan for 2021.

6. Measure, measure, measure

The final part is to ensure that you measure the outputs of your 2021 plan. So looking at the customer spend, all your customer experience KPIs, or your churn rate you will see that the new strategy is working and where it will need tweaking. Again, it is important that you have expert help with this, in order to gain an objective view of your business AND the expertise of someone that knows how to interpret the results and take action.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our CX tips  please get in touch.

How Sussex Beds transformed their customer and employee experience

If there is a lesson on customer experience throughout this pandemic it is the need for businesses to get fast and accurate feedback from their teams and customers. This has allowed business owners to spin on a sixpence and to make the most of new opportunities as they arrive.

We wanted to share with you a great example of how a family business which has been trading for more than 50 years has embraced our instant insight system to grow and build their business at a rapid pace. If you would like any more information about the work in this story please feel free to contact us.

Case Study


Sussex Beds is an independent family business, currently operating from 10 branches across Sussex.

Sussex Beds pride themselves on the good reputation they have built on sound principles of providing great products at low prices and also caring customer service.

insight6 works with Sussex Beds to provide CX Reviews (mystery shopping) and training and in May 2020, Sussex Beds started using instant insight, an online solution that makes asking for feedback from your team and customers simple.

How has instant insight helped Sussex Beds understand how customers feel?

We started using instant insight in May initially to gather feedback from our customers who have had beds delivered to them. After a delivery has been made we simply upload our client’s details and instant insight sends them two short questions via an email that is branded with our own choice of text and logo.

Because of the simplicity, we have received a great response from our customers so instant insight has given us a great understanding of how our customers feel about the service and how likely they are to recommend us.

Following this successful launch, we have since also started asking for feedback from our customers who visit us in branch. It is so easy for them to tell us how they feel as all they need to do is select a happy, content or sad face and provide a sentence to explain why they feel that way. It is a simple question but we have received some great feedback from our customers who may not have bothered with a longer, more drawn out survey. We recently received some feedback from a customer who had visited our showroom, for a quotation. Sadly she felt that her experience fell below the standard expected, and because we got her feedback in real time, our store manager was able to address the issue with her and by the end of the call she was happy to proceed with her order. Had we not have received this feedback, I don’t believe this customer would have progressed her order with us.

We have a number of branches across Sussex so it is really beneficial that we can filter the data to view our results separately for each branch, allowing us to spot trends.

What about your team members?

Following a period of closure due to lockdown earlier this year, it was really important to us as a family business that when we reopened our staff felt comfortable and safe while they were at work. instant insight gave us real peace of mind by making it very easy to find out which members of our team did not feel safe and importantly why so we could take action.

The response from our team was brilliant with 87% using the system to tell us how they felt and 95% saying they felt safe while at work.

Where employees have not felt safe, we have been able to learn about this quickly via the realtime notification emails built into the system. We have then been able to speak with the individuals to understand their issues and resolve them for them.

What are your plans for the future with instant insight?

It is important to us that we know how our customers feel at each stage of their journey with us. The next step will be to use instant insight to ask our customers about the products they have purchased. Not only will this give us more great feedback but it will also help us to keep our customers engaged and provide us with an opportunity to incentivise them to refer us to their friends and family.

We plan on using the Public Review Booster within the system to encourage our happy customers to leave us a review to boost our online reputation.

Business optimism is a state of mind

The instant insight Business Optimism survey was launched at the beginning of the month and we have had over 70 businesses participate.

Designed as a barometer of how business leaders are feeling we asked one simple question: ‘Based on the experiences of the last two weeks how optimistic do you feel about the future of the business?’ and asked why they felt that way.

The instant insight survey took less than a minute to complete and we have gathered rich and detailed insights that we are able to share with you today which we hope will benefit you as a leader:

Six out of Ten leaders feel optimistic about the future of their business

57% feel optimistic about the future of their business and 10% do not. One third were unsure how they feel. When looking at the reasons for the ‘optimism’ rating it is not conclusive that optimism is linked to performance.

In a nutshell:

  • Optimism does not appear to be linked to what Covid Tier you are located
  • Optimism is not linked to the sector that you are in
  • Optimism is linked to how you perceive the opportunities in your sector, your
    location and not your circumstances

“With disruption comes opportunity.”

“The best opportunities appear in times of stress and upheaval.”

Whilst some businesses are thriving during this time some are seeing the opportunity to work on their businesses, take time to reflect and think about how they can re-engineer their businesses to be ready for the transition to recovery.

For those that are unsure, the reasons are grounding in overwhelming uncertainty and worry for the future “These are difficult times with uncertainty over how covid will develop, potential further lockdowns and economy not growing as predicted.”

Staying focused on what is possible and what you can do appears to be the most common observable conclusion on staying optimistic. Whilst uncertainty remains as we have no idea how long Covid will impact on our ability to recover and what the impact of Brexit will be on the economy the only choice is how to respond. Do you focus on all the problems and barriers or do you look at what and where are the opportunities?

One thing for sure is that mental resilience is vital for leaders but the ability to be optimistic is a chicken and egg situation – what happens first, optimism and then seeing opportunities or your circumstances change and then you feel optimism?

It is clear from the findings that the former is true but we often mistakenly believe our wellbeing is wrapped up in success and not in the enthusiastic quest of new opportunities. Perhaps the only way to survive the pandemic is to explore all the possibilities and what you can do.

We have developed instant insight, a solution to help businesses gather feedback and interpret the results. In response to the pandemic, businesses have used instant insight to ensure team members feel safe at work, keep remote team members feeling engaged and motivated, and keep up with the changing needs of customers.

Find out more about how instant insight can help your business here and if you would like to join the business optimism survey please do let us know and we will continue to share the latest results as they emerge.

Our 6 CX Tips to Recovery

This year has been tough for many of us both personally and professionally. Even the businesses that have been successful during the pandemic will have found new challenges and hurdles to overcome. There are though a number of actions we can all take now to recover business and get back on track.

As we head into the final quarter of 2020 we have put together six top Customer Experience (CX) tips to help you recover your business and prepare for 2021.

  1. Communicate communicate communicate

Between now and the end of the year it is crucial that all of your customers have some form of communication from yourselves. The best way to do this is by talking to them. We have professional firm clients who have picked up the phone and simply asked their customers how they were. This led to numerous conversations and in one case a solicitor called 50 of his clients and picked up 12 new pieces of work. There is of course method in making such calls but all it needs to start with is: “I’m just ringing to see how you are and how you’re getting on. How are you?”  Your customers will talk and you will be able to identify their issues and then be able to help them.

  1. Ask for feedback

Now is the time to ask your customers for feedback. Their views on the world would’ve changed and possibly what they need from you would’ve changed too. You could start 2021 carrying on as normal and only find out by default six months down the line that what you’re delivering no longer meet the needs of your customers. It’s not rocket science to ask for feedback and many customers really appreciate it because it shows that you care. However, there is obviously a method of doing it in the right way to get the right results and a high participation. So think carefully about what your objectives are and script some tight questions that are going to give you the outputs to allow you to make the best decisions.

  1. Love your team

Your team, like yourself, have possibly had a very difficult year. Some of them may have worked tirelessly through the pandemic and feel tired and frustrated and have worn your own pain in amongst their working day. Others may have been furloughed and returned to work not understanding the change that has occurred within the business and therefore are left feeling unsure about what their role and contribution is in the future. In both scenarios, they need to be loved. One way to love them is to ask them how they feel and for their input into the future direction of the business. There are many ways to do this such as focus groups, surveys or just one-to-one discussions. The most important thing is that you take decisive action after the feedback. We recently conducted focus groups with one of our client’s team and the number one concern of the group was that the management would do nothing with the feedback. To ensure they did respond to the feedback, we mentored their management group to see the project through to its entirety. Communicating this back to their team has had a huge effect on morale and every week the team can see their ideas being introduced.

  1. Spell out the 2021 vision

Some of your team may not feel secure at the moment and when this occurs rumours creep and speculation in the tea room or online is rife. So in the last quarter of this year taking the team through the vision for the next three years with a real focus on 2021 will get everybody focused on what you’re trying to achieve. This doesn’t have to be long winded, it can be really simple. For example, we have a client who put together four simple messages with four Powerpoint slides and took the team through the vision in 45 minutes. The effect it had on the team was very positive as they knew their role and what the company was trying to achieve. As leaders, we often take for granted that everybody knows where we’re going in truth it is often the reverse.

  1. Take a moment for you

You may be running a business, managing a team, or working on the frontline. Whatever it is you would’ve experienced new challenges this year and those challenges may have changed you as a person and reshaped your personality. You may have felt euphoric one minute and down in the dumps for next. What is really important is that you reflect and think quietly about what’s gone well and what has been challenging for you personally. Doing just that will help rationalise your thoughts.

Give yourself a pat on the back for how you have coped this year. If you’re able to do it, think about working out how you continue with the good work you’ve done more professionally in 2021 would be a great step forward.

  1. Start mapping the journey

Some businesses have been very successful during the pandemic and others have had a real struggle. There were very few that had been normal. The businesses that have been very successful have had all of their processes and people stretched to the maximum. We work with an IT supplier where turnover has tripled in seven months. The team are tired and their processes are very fragile. We are now working with them to map the key journey of their core processes to identify ways they can streamline the process and most importantly deliver a much better customer experience. In just two sessions their lives have already become significantly easier.

The same applies to some of our clients who have had a tough time. They no longer have so many staff and they have had to reinvent the way in which they work in order to deliver the same outcome to their customers with less in-house resource. Again, we can help them by sitting down with a team to map in the customer journey to find new ways of working, for example, new technologies they can implement which would enable them to streamline and be leaner in 2021.


It’s been a tough year for many of us but if you start working on your business with some of the suggestions above in the final quarter there is no reason at all why 2021 couldn’t be one of your most successful years to date. It’s about focus and planning and application and if we can help you with any of those things, or indeed you would just like to have a chat, because we do care about you, then feel free to let us know.

How Are the Public Feeling About Venturing Out to Shop?

Shopping has changed unimaginably in 2020 and perhaps forever, with online spending at record levels after Covid-19 forced shop doors to close for over three months during lockdown. 

In recent weeks shops have begun opening up their doors and welcoming back their customers. We wanted to discover how the public is feeling about going back to shops so we asked our countrywide team of insight6 researchers how they felt. 

More than 200 researchers gave us their views. Here are the headlines from the research:


Overall Confidence

When asked ‘How confident are you about visiting your local town centre?’, the results were mixed.  Only 25% were fully confident – rated 9 or 10 out of 10, and 45% were not confident – rating 6 out of 10 or less.

The average score was 6.6 out of 10, suggesting that there is trepidation out there, plus plenty of work to do to build confidence.

There were lots of comments that support these ratings.  The words used overwhelmingly in the survey were ‘social distancing’, ‘enforce’, and ‘ensure’.  There was a clear feeling within the results that social distancing must be in place on the street and in shops, and that the safety measures must be enforced by shop staff and/or the authorities.


Shopping Intentions

We asked researchers whether the Pandemic would mean they are more or less likely to shop online.  Before Covid-19, online sales accounted for approximately 19% of the market, and had hovered around that mark for some time, a measure published back in May said this had increased to 25%.

Our survey showed that just over 40% expected to shop more online, with 49% expecting to shop online at the same levels.  Only 11% expect online shopping to decrease.  It is no surprise that it would appear that online shopping is only likely to increase.

The increase creates further challenges for High Street businesses already feeling the strain.  There have been a number of initiatives to get people out and about, particularly in the Food and Beverage sector, but footfall is still low.  

We also asked people about their intentions to shop locally and 52% said they would shop more locally.  Some of the anecdotal evidence that supported this was:

  • A number of researchers told us that they would go shopping less often and closer to home
  • There is mistrust of large shops, shopping centres and malls
  • People would like to support local businesses
  • They will go to shops they know well and take safety seriously – back to the enforcement point

What does this mean for the High Street?

On the face of it, this is bad news for High Street businesses.   The mix of low footfall, more people used to using online services than before Covid19, and over half of people reluctant to venture out too far would appear to put High Street businesses in a predicament.

However, there are signs that people are waiting to be influenced, the businesses that make sure people know that safety is paramount, and will be enforced rigidly stand more chance of attracting shoppers.  Overlay that with a great customer experience, which is better than online shopping, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

insight6 Top Tips for Thriving in a “new normal”

  • Make sure people know you are open, and you have put in place all possible safety measures – shout about it online, social media, your website
  • Make sure your staff are ready to enforce safety measures, and it can be done in a nice way – no exceptions
  • Make sure the customer experience is excellent, people miss product demonstrations, looking and feeling, choosing, discussing suitability, getting advice etc.
  • Encourage customers to share their positive views on the new experience on social media

If you would like to learn more about how we can partner your business to measure and transform your customer experience to increase your footfall and customer loyalty then simply fill in the form below and your local Customer Experience Specialist will be in touch. 

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How well are Independent Schools communicating through their websites?

Over the past few months, lockdown has meant that we have all relied heavily on technology and the internet. From using video calls to working remotely to shopping on the internet, a strong online presence and messaging have never been more important.

With lockdown and social distancing impacting the ability of independent schools to conduct tours and host open days, the education sector is no different. This presents a huge opportunity for schools to use websites as a shop window to give parents and prospective students a flavour of what life will be like if they choose to enrol at the school.

At insight6 we wanted to find out whether schools were grasping the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do online. In June we asked our researchers to visit the websites of 71 independent schools to see what the experience was like. 

Positively, 72% of the websites offered future virtual events and open days showing that they have moved quickly to change their offering and adapt. As well as providing a new way for prospective students to find out more about the school, 60% had messaging on the website reaching out to current students offering them advice. Not only is this helpful for the current students but it also demonstrates their level of care to parents and prospective students. 

The messages on the homepage of a website can have a big impact on how the reader feels about an institution or business. Words and phrases such as ‘reassure you’ and ‘hope you are safe and well’ help to show empathy and ease any concerns that current or prospective students may have. During these times especially, empathetic messaging on your website homepage is crucial to show that you care. Our research showed that only half of all schools used empathetic language in the messaging on their website homepage. 

insight6 researchers also found that: 

  • 53% of schools had an up to date message on their website about Covid-19 
  • 24% of schools had never updated their LinkedIn profile and a further 24% had not updated it within the last 6 months meaning there was no messaging about Covid-19
  • 0% of the schools had a webchat facility on their website to provide a quick and easy way to communicate with them 

What are parents/prospective students looking for? 

Selecting the right school is a huge decision for parents. When viewing a school under normal circumstances parents will not just be thinking about the academic results, they are also considering the facilities, sports achievements and the values of the community they become part of when their child/children attend.  Although all of these things are important, when a parent financially invests in a school they are investing in their child’s future. They are making a decision on where their child will grow up and spend a vital time in their life. Importantly, parents are investing in a community where they need to feel valued and their children cared for.

The impact of Covid-19 has changed many things, including the way in which schools can offer tours but it has not impacted the importance of this decision for parents which is why the online offering is now vital.

At the end of the research, we asked our team whether based on their experience they would be likely to recommend the school. Overall, only 21% said that they would, however, there are three key things that schools can do now to change this: 

  1. Provide regular updates - this shows that you are constantly looking to adapt and take the best action for your students. It demonstrates to parents that the school is proactive and helps to keep current students in the loop.
  2. Use empathetic language in your messaging - parents and students want and need to feel reassured, especially during these times.
  3. Make communication as easy as possible - It should be very simple for parents, students or prospective students to get in touch should they have an enquiry. If it is hard for them to know who they should contact, or they can’t find the right email address they could choose to look elsewhere instead. 

50% of our researchers said that they would recommend the schools that successfully did all three of these things, highlighting the gap between those that had and those that hadn’t. 

Some very small changes can make a massive difference to your website and the way it makes visitors feel. Having someone with a fresh pair of eyes take a look at your site for the first time through the eyes of a prospective student or parent can be very beneficial and will help to pick up on things that you may not have noticed before when looking at it regularly. 

insight6 is here to support you. If you would like to talk with our experts about the messaging on your website, even if it is an informal chat over a (virtual) cup of coffee, then please leave us a message on the contact form below and we will be in touch.

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How well are UK colleges and universities communicating through their websites?

Over the past couple of months, businesses across the UK have had to find ways to adapt to the lockdown measures in place in response to COVID-19. The education sector is no different and we have already seen some major changes in the way colleges and universities are operating, including the decision by Cambridge University to run all lectures remotely for the 2020/21 year.

With an uncertainty about what education will look like within the next year, current students, new starters and potential new students alike will be visiting the websites of Colleges and Universities to seek out the information they need to know. The message that your website portrays to them is vital.

At insight6 we wanted to establish how well colleges and universities are communicating through their websites and so we asked our team of researchers to visit them through the eyes of a student. Across more than 100 college and university websites we discovered that:

  • Only 25% of the sites had a webchat facility despite, however according to the QS Domestic Student Survey 2020, 41% of students want this option
  • 94% of the websites clearly displayed their stance to COVID-19 however only 56% of the sites did this with empathetic messaging 
  • 14% of the websites left current students with no advice about any changes and 25% had no advice for students due to start in the Autumn 
  • 45% of the sites highlighted how their establishment is supporting key workers 

One of the most striking findings was that one in three of the universities and colleges were not advertising any future events or virtual open days. This leaves a clear gap between the establishments that have adapted and those that haven’t.

Selecting a college or university is a big choice for a student and so a virtual tour or event could go a long way in helping them to make their final decision on where they want to go.

Our six tips for communicating through your website: 

  1. It sounds simple but keep your website up to date with the latest information. You don’t want any of the messaging on the site to be out of date as this will cause confusion amongst students. If anything changes, make sure the website is updated to reflect this.

  2. Make sure someone with a fresh pair of eyes takes a look at your messaging for you. When our researchers viewed the websites they did it through the eyes of a student. It is amazing the small things you will miss, or not realise are important when writing it yourself.

  3. Regularly post updates through your social media accounts as students will be keeping an eye on these. It is a great way to keep students in the loop and then can then share these updates with other students.

  4. Don’t just think about the text, think about the colouring and the layout and how they might make someone feel. Words written in red text and using capital letters tend to make people feel concerned. Don’t fuel the anxiety that students may be feeling by highlighting negative outcomes in red.

  5. Make it as easy and as simple as possible for students to interact with you. If you are unable to have a webchat function on the site make sure it is clear what they need to do to get in touch, whether it is through a contact form, an email address or a phone number. If you can give them a couple of options this is even better.

  6. Current and new students could be feeling anxious at this time, especially if they are unsure what is happening with the exams they were supposed to be sitting, or wondering what university life might look like next year. Using empathetic messaging to reassure students that you are looking out for them. Language such as “we are here for you” will help to ease worries they may have.

insight6 is here to support you. If you would like to talk with our experts about the messaging on your website, even if it is an informal chat over a (virtual) cup of coffee, then please leave us a message on the contact form below and we will be in touch. 

Look out for our next research in the education sector later this summer, which assesses how straight forward "The Applicant Journey" actually is across universities and colleges in the UK.

Arrange a call with your local Customer Experience Specialist: 

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Alcohol sales are at an all time high but does your website tell your customers you are ready to trade?

Pubs may be closed, bars shut and beer gardens empty but the demand for alcohol remains. Alcohol focused stores have seen a 31.4% surge in the volume of sales over the past few weeks according to the Office of National Statistics. This comes as many shops shut their doors and retail sales reported their largest fall on record in March.

Consumers across the country are drinking at home, finding new ways to buy their favourite tipple and discovering new brands online. Many of us are turning to the internet to search out our drink of choice online. This presents a huge opportunity for breweries and distilleries to use their website as a shop window - but are they taking it?

insight6 researchers visited the websites of 90 different UK breweries and distilleries between the 22nd - 30th April. We wanted to know how well these sites were connecting with customers and how easy it was to buy from them.

We asked our researchers: ‘based on your experience of the website, how likely would you be to recommend the brewery or distillery to your family and friends?’ They scored each company on a scale of 0-10 to give us a Net Promoter Score. The overall score was -20 which indicates that after viewing the websites, our researchers were unlikely to recommend the companies.

Why did our researchers feel this way?

Incredibly, our research found that 64% of the websites made no reference to Covid-19 on their homepage leaving visitors unsure if the site was up to date. Any confusion for the visitor was further compounded by the fact that 46% of the websites did not make it clear on the homepage whether the company was still operating. This means that potential customers could be turned away early on in their journey, instead searching out a competitor with a clearer message.

There are some positive messages that companies could be sharing to reassure customers. Researchers found when digging deeper into the websites, 81% were offering online purchase and delivery and 27% were even offering free local delivery regardless of the size of the order.

Again, it was the messaging from the breweries and distilleries which caused confusion for our researchers as 17% of websites did not clearly explain the delivery and collection process. Customers want to be reassured that their safety is your number one priority when it comes to delivery and collection. Without a clear message about the process they may be unsure whether it is sensible for them to proceed with the order and result in lost sales.

Communication is the key

We compared the scores of the websites that our researchers said they would recommend and those that they said they would not. There was a very clear distinction in the communication levels.

The highly rated websites had amended their homepage to include:

  • Some reference to the Covid-19 crisis (with empathy)
  • A clear message that they are operating and in what capacity (with empathy)
  • Detail on their current delivery processes and timescales

22% of the sites communicated all of the above, resulting in a Net Promoter Score of 60. This means that visitors to these websites would be highly likely to recommend them to their friends and family, resulting in added exposure and greater opportunity for sales.

Empathy is a crucial factor and messages that start and end with phrases such as ‘we are here for you’ and ‘reassure you’ help to alleviate anxiety or concerns that potential customers could have.

Six tips to get your website messaging right

  1. We understand that not all organisations sell directly to consumers but there is nothing to stop you from helping them to buy your product elsewhere. If you are a large B2B organisation which doesn’t have a B2C offering, make that clear in your communication - for example. ‘Whilst we are not able to sell you our beers & ales via the website, we are working hard to ensure that they are available to buy from your local supermarket during lockdown.’
  2. Update your website to clearly communicate the current status of your business. Reassure your customers that they can still buy from you and tell them what you are doing all you can to keep them safe.
  3. Make it as easy and simple as possible for your customers to interact with you. Ensure that all the processes along the customer journey are clearly communicated.
  4. Ensure your messaging contains empathy and that it is written in the right tone. Messages that use words such as ‘reassure’ and ‘stay safe’ resonate with visitors who could be feeling concerned in the current situation.
  5. Have a fresh pair of eyes look over your website for you. It is amazing the small things that may be missed, or the details you may not realise are important when you are writing it yourself.
  6. Think about the look and feel of the website. It is not just the text that is important, think about the colouring and the impact it will have on the way your customers will be feeling. Ensure that you are not fuelling your customers' anxiety and concern by highlighting negative impacts in red, overdoing it with bold fonts or capital letters.

If you would like us to review your website, or if you have any questions at all, please leave a message in the form below. Your local Customer Experience Director will make contact to provide the support you need.

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