What can you do for me immediately?
The web is all about instant gratification. Users don't want to watch your flashy splash page. They barely care who you are. The question is what can you do for them? Can you entertain them? Fulfill a need? Make their lives easier in some way? Can you provide value? "What have you done for me lately" has been replaced on the web with "What can you do for me immediately?"
The Internet and other technological advancements have ushered in an Era of Now. Customers want service and information. Now. We want pay at the pump. We want debit cards and instant messaging. We want 24-hour banking, GPS navigation and self-checkout. We want the Easy Button.
The bar has been raised for customer service too. No longer is getting back to a customer in "2-3 business days" good enough. Companies are adding features like real-time chat to their sites to engage the customer and facilitate the online experience.
The layout and usability of your site needs to take this "user attitude" into account. How could you streamline the navigation to highlight your most important areas? How could you improve your users' satisfaction? What would you want to see if you were the customer?
The new rule is simple: Make it easier, faster, cheaper for your customers to do business with you, or they will take their business to someone who will.