How not to annoy customers on your corporate website

A white ampersand in a grey roundel. This team member has requested that we do not share their face online. Caterina Sorenti | 22 Mar 2024

While customers are a non-traditional target visitor for most corporate websites, our visitor research survey, which collects visitor data from the websites of large global companies, shows they are the second-largest audience, behind jobseekers.

It also tells us that customers visit the corporate website primarily to solve a problem. Even if you would prefer customers go elsewhere, they are here to stay, and if you don’t wish to serve them directly, it is important to clearly route them to an alternative location.  

Our survey, particularly the free-text comments collected, shows common themes amongst customer complaints. Customers are often frustrated with a lack of efficient customer service or are pushing for a more transparent approach to presenting sustainability information. Understandably, there are complaints which are often out of your hands as digital teams, but there are certainly ways to serve customers more effectively. In this article, we have identified the top customer complaints you should be aware of, and some quick wins to address them.  

All of the quotes are from comments left by real visitors to corporate websites but have been anonymised. 

1. A lack of transparency over company controversy 

“Seeking corporate statement about the [controversial event]” 

When controversy strikes, it can be challenging to know what to do first, and appeasing customers may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, customers will flock to your corporate website looking for an indication of your company’s stance, and whether any action or acknowledgement is taking place, as they are purchasing products or actively engaging and want to know about the company they are investing in. A centrally located corporate statement is not only what customers are looking for but is an efficient solution.

2. Not being honest about your sustainability information 

“There is no proof of the DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] efforts being made” 
“Vague posturing with no real information, data, or links. […] Clearly the information exists for optics and SEO”  

Incorporating ESG information, from workforce statistics to environmental performance data, is not just a box to be ticked, and customers can sense when this information is half-hearted or not substantiated appropriately. Customers – like most other audience groups – are looking for an honest approach to presenting ESG information: own where you have gone wrong, use data to back up your goals and progress, and show how your charitable endeavours have made a difference. 

3. Unclear service and products sections 

“Your website [is] a broken hellscape of errors and dead links.  You have a product inquiry tool that doesn't list all products.”

A primary reason for digital teams wanting to redirect customers away from the corporate website is that there are often much more appropriate consumer-specific sites, perhaps varying from region to region, and with different product offerings. But the reality is that many customers still want a comprehensive summary of the products and services you offer on your corporate website, as well as clear routes out to the relevant brand or country sites. Ensure that product menus or selectors include more than a couple of sentences of copy, and that your services are detailed so that customers can decipher what the best solution is for them.    

4. Getting in contact with the board 

“I want to get in contact with the board - talk to the CEO[.] I should be able to have access to a full listing of corporate executives with direct telephone numbers to contact their assistants […]” 

Providing contact details for your company’s most senior executives may seem extreme and unrealistic, but this is a common complaint amongst customers. They are either frustrated with the lack of customer service they have received or are entirely outraged at an event/product/lack of information and want to raise their complaints at the highest level. Even if you don’t go as far as providing direct contact information for board members and the CEO, clear routes and processes for customer enquiries and complaints is a must have for the corporate website. 

5. Poor customer service


If the shouty capitals are anything to go by, one of the most frequent reasons for customers coming to the corporate website is to complain about a lack of customer service. Whether they are unable to find the appropriate contact information, or they simply have not received an answer they find useful, they are coming to find any alternative solutions. Providing crystal clear contact routes, or moving customers onto the appropriate site, is extremely important.  

6. Unclear journeys to customer-focused websites 

“There is a different website name when ordering [product] samples and I can never remember it” 
“I should be able to sign in but I see no place to do that”  

Customers want to be able to easily access relevant microsites, whether logins to personal banking and insurance, or medical information for healthcare professionals. When these sites are buried or impossible to find from the corporate website, it makes customers extremely frustrated. Ensuring your country directories are up-to-date and ensuring they (as well as your footers) are well-stocked with a range of helpful links is a priority, especially if you are looking to redirect your customers away from the corporate website. 

Hermione Sun, Visitor Research Consultant at Bowen Craggs, contributed to this article.