Your website, your virtual front desk: How to get your customers talking.

28 April, 2021
 

In this fast-paced world where users expect instant access and instant gratification, it’s important to ensure your customers can easily reach you – in their time and on their terms. As one of the most-used marketing channels for your business, your website is often the first place your audience will be looking for information. So, how can you make sure you are there to help?

 

Popular communication tools

Contact form

 

Contact forms can be used to collect basic information about your customers, such as name and email address. Depending on how your website is built, you can use a WordPress plug-in such as Contact Form 7 or add a pre-generated snippet of code from a relevant 3rd party, for example, a customer relationship (CRM) system. These forms can be configured to e-mail customer enquiries directly to your inbox so you can respond immediately. Additionally, you can send an auto-response once they’ve submitted the form, setting the expectation as to when they are likely to hear back from you. Contact forms are a great option for those who don’t want the hassle of switching between their browser and their email to get in touch.

 

Live Chat

 

Ever clicked through to a website and found yourself greeted by a friendly face in the bottom right-hand corner? That’ll be the live chat. In fact, one study shows that 79% of customers say they prefer live chat because they receive faster responses. These can be configured to appear after a certain amount of time or once the user has scrolled down to a certain position, enabling you to capture their attention at the most suitable moment. Like contact forms, live chat buttons and pop-ups can be added using WordPress plug-ins or from a 3rd party. HubSpot CRM, for example, enables you to embed a live chat feed directly on your website and view the conversation from your mobile or laptop device. Most tools also allow you to customise the design to match your own branding.

 

Phone number

As of 2020, mobile views account for around half of website traffic globally. That means if your phone number is listed on your website (and it is optimised for mobile devices of course), visitors only need to tap the phone number to make a call.

Social media links

Some visitors to your website may prefer to contact you via other means, such as social media messaging. This is another great reason to ensure your social media links are nice and visible, both at the top of your site as well as in the footer. You can also use a plug-in to display your Instagram or Twitter feed directly on your website, so customers can click directly on the content that interests them and be directed to the correct social feed.

5 top tips to encourage visitors to get in touch…

1. Freedom of choice

We all have our preferred methods of communication – while some live in their inboxes, others prefer speaking directly to a human being on the other end of the phone. The important thing to remember is to give your visitors options, so they can choose the form of contact that they’re most comfortable with. For example, almost two-thirds of consumers prefer non-verbal contact to having to pick up the phone and over half of younger visitors would prefer to use only automated channels – in real-time. By narrowing the options, you’re effectively ignoring these desires and preferences and negatively impacting their overall experience.

2. Don’t stay hidden

A great user experience is all about engaging with your visitors and making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. This is particularly true with your call to action. As you’ll probably have noticed for yourself, most business websites have a separate contact page, which can be accessed directly from the main menu at the top of each page. As well as making it easy to find, ensure your contact details STAND OUT using contrasting colours or dedicated banners or buttons.

3. Tell us your life story…

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to submit a form only to be stopped in your tracks because you’ve missed a field or two. Whilst asking for information to submit their enquiry is important, asking for too much can be off-putting and intrusive. Consider what you need to know to deal with their enquiry effectively and efficiently and keep it to the essential stuff. After all, if there’s a conversation to be had you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find out more down the line.

4. Location, location, location

If your business has physical premises such as an office or shop, consider adding a map to your site. You’ll often find these on the contact page or even in the footer. We’d also recommend using Google My Business, which will then pinpoint your specific business location and associated listing within Google Maps. This is particularly useful for mobile users, who can then click directly into their mapping app to navigate to your location.

5. Test it!

 

This may seem fairly obvious but – make sure it all works! When you first launch your site, test every call to action to make sure you receive the enquiry as you’d expect. If you’re updating your products and services, be sure to check that these changes are reflected in any contact form options or chat box selections too.

6. Give them an alternative call to action

Some visitors to your website might not be quite ready for that direct conversation. Make sure that you have one or two ‘transitional’ calls to action along with your contact methods. These could be links to Social Media channels, links to other pages, white paper downloads or videos. By providing your customer with the opportunity to gather more information before exiting your site, you’re more likely to build the confidence and trust that will lead to the enquiry or purchase down the line.

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