If people are different, how come your website is the same no matter who you are communicating with? We forget the psychological and cultural dimension online and we lose out. Get some answers from one of the most interesting experts in the online world, web psychologist Nathalie Nahai.
When Nathalie Nahai wrote her book, Webs of Influence, she found it very surprising that we seem to forget the cultural dimension when we create websites. As if we were communicating to a single homogeneous target group in a perfect world. She adds:
“International companies with customers in e.g. Denmark, Singapore and South Africa tend to translate their corporate website and leave it at that. But it isn’t enough to have one version of your website, because cultures are just as different online – as they are offline. One size does not fit all, and companies could benefit greatly from taking that factor into account.”
Nathalie Nahai – a rare hybrid
Nathalie Nahai is a renowned web psychologist who has made it her mission to add a psychological perspective to the way we behave on the web. Her background stems from both psychology and websites making her a rare hybrid.
“How we behave offline is well documented, but for some reason no one had really written about our online behavior. That really surprised me since we do almost everything online today. There’s just as much psychology on the web as in real life.”
A huge power shift
During the past 10-15 years, we have seen a dramatic online power shift between the companies and their customers. Companies are still finding it hard to adjust, says Nathalie Nahai.
“Just a few years ago, companies expected customers to come and find them online. That’s completely changed. Now, the interaction between the company and the customer is much more relationship based and a two way street. Consequently the company has to invest a lot more in the relationship to create an emotional engagement – and you need to think differently to achieve that goal.
According to Nathalie Nahai, companies across the world are finding it hard to change their online mindset. The culture of how it used to be runs deep. Nevertheless, investing in the relationship with the customer and understanding web psychology is key to online success, she claims.
“Sure it was easier before, when the company could communicate one way and control everything, but those days are over. The power shift is huge, and the customers expect a lot more from the company. To handle that change the company’s culture needs to change from within.”
In real life we instinctively know how to judge whether someone we meet is trustworthy. A lot of it has to do with nonverbal communication like eye contact and smiles. However, to appear trustworthy online requires a far more deliberate approach.
“We can apply some of the same elements online as we find trustworthy offline. You can mirror the language of your users to make them feel comfortable, use photos with smiling faces, or choose colors that create emotions of trust like blue. My point is that we need to work with these effects deliberately. ”
Why don’t you just ask them?
Far too often companies feel pressured into doing something new online because everybody else is doing it. Even though they are not sure it’s the right thing for them, explains Nathalie Nahai. She continues:
“Ask your customers what they would like from you online. However, you also have to analyse their digital foot prints because what we say is not always what we do. Do some serious research to find out what it’ll take to create an online company profile that your customers will emotionally engage with across cultures and types. Sometimes it is the simplest things that get neglected.”
Meet Nathalie Nahai in Copenhagen
You can hear more of Nathalie Nahai’s interesting points on web psychology at the Sitecore Digital Trendspot in Bellacentret on the 26th of November. Sign up here: http://siteco.re/1g9O3zY. Or you can get her book, Webs of Influences here. http://www.thewebpsychologist.com/webs-of-influence-free-download/
Share the blogpost with your network: