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Monday, September 11, 2006

5 Tips on Making Your "Contact Us" Page Work Harder for You

Posted by @ 9:01 pm

On many websites, the “Contact Us” page is little more than an afterthought, and links to the contact information are well hidden at the bottom of the web pages.

However, the information contained on the “Contact Us” page might just clinch a sale for you. You need to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to contact you and find out more about you. Here are 5 tips on how to quickly improve your “Contact Us” page and make it work hard as an active part of your sales toolbox:

  1. Make Your “Contact Us” Page Easy to Find
    Your website visitors can be at many stages in their purchasing cycle – they might be doing research, comparing prices, or actively looking to buy something immediately. During any of these stages, a number of questions may arise that your website isn’t fully answering. For these cases, it is important that your web visitors can easily find your “Contact Us” page to learn how they can contact you. Many websites tend to hide the link to the “Contact Us” page at the bottom of the web pages, which makes it more difficult for visitors to find. Make sure you include a link to your contact page at the top of your site – either in the top level navigation, or maybe as part of your help section.

  2. Include Multiple Contact Options
    Give your visitors as many options as possible to get in touch with you – be it via email, telephone, live chat or contact forms. Make sure you don’t make any of these contact options harder than necessary: You might want to ask for account numbers or order numbers to improve your customer service efficiency, but think carefully and decide exactly what information you really will need before requesting it.
  3. Include Your Physical Location and Mailing Address
    Even if the physical or mailing address might not be used much in e-commerce, listing those details still helps to show that your business is a real business and not just a fly-by-night outfit. If you deal with a lot of local customers, your location might be more even more important, since your website might be a source for walk-in traffic for your bricks-and-mortar shop.
  4. Set Expectations
    Clearly state the hours during which your phone lines are manned, and give your visitors some indication of when they can expect a response to email or contact form queries. Make sure you are able to provide responses in a reasonable timeframe (remember that Internet surfers tend to have high expectations regarding fast response times), and try to then outperform the expectations you set. You can make an impressive start to a relationship if a prospect is expecting a response from you in two business days and you can provide it within four hours!
  5. Explain Who Is the Right Contact for Which Question
    If you have different departments dealing with different product lines or services, or dealing with different kinds of queries (for example sales versus accounts), make sure that you point your web visitors to the right contact from the beginning by providing exact contact details for different kinds of queries. Directing a question to the right place from the start is much less frustrating for your customers and prospects than endlessly being transferred from one department to the other.
  6. Bonus Tip: Reduce the Amount of Questions!
    Do you really need to personally field all the queries you are currently getting? While you don’t want to discourage your customers and prospects from contacting, you may be able to encourage certain types of behavior in your customers and reduce the amount of unanswered questions they have. For example, if you get a lot of standard questions that are addressed in your online FAQ section, increase the visibility of your FAQ section – the incentive for your customers being that they can immediately access the information they are looking for. Product comparison tables that compare the features, benefits and pricing of your product range can also help to answer your customers’ questions and reduce the need for them to contact you.

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