Posted by Ray Litvak from Leading Website Designs...
I recently volunteered to write a blog for AIMS on Web Design – Kathryn suggested writing about something I know and enjoy; so web design it is. My AIM – pun intended – is to address web design elements from a usability and marketing standpoint; including the good, the bad and the ugly.
Let’s review the ‘Contact Us’ section - the Rodney Dangerfield of web pages, usually getting “no respect” yet able to make or break a site.
We’ve boiled it down to 7 deadly “Contact Us’ page sins we frequently come across;
1. Who should I contact? The prospect has found your site and wants more information, but can’t identify who – from your contact list – is responsible. Is it Sales@yourco.com, Info@yourco.com, Service@yourco.com? Why make them think?
2. How long until someone gets back to me? Informing prospects of business hours and when they can expect a reply, builds credibility & trust.
3. Did they get the completed form I e-mailed to them? Auto Responders assure prospects their query was received – especially important in an emergency.
4. Why can’t I call them? Suppose the prospect’s Visa bill arrives and Amazon charged them for the wrong item - they want to speak to someone and soon: Amazon claims to be “committed to being Earth's most customer-centric company,” but try finding a phone number to speak to a ‘customer-centric’ person on their site. Unfortunately, this type of frustration is not specific to Amazon: still don’t believe me, check out the http://www.gethuman.com/earcon/standard.html project in the U.S.
5. Where’s the toll free number? The prospect lives in Windsor and wants to buy flowers for mom on Mother’s day – May 13th. Mom’s in Toronto. The prospect found your site and wants to call to place the order, but there’s no toll-free number. Maybe they’ll call, maybe they won’t. Why risk it?
7. Why haven’t they replied to me? The prospect completed & sent the online ‘Request for Information’ form, but was never contacted. The prospect wonders how they’d be treated if they were an actual customer. Unless you are selling an egg-laying long-beaked echidna - or something as rare - chances are they’ll search for it elsewhere.
Essentially, make it easy for prospects to contact you. You’ve invested time, money and advertising to create and promote a professional web presence: providing easy and accessible contact options and alternatives just makes good business sense. As Geico says, make it "So easy a caveman can do it."