When handling communications I think first impressions really matter in determining a future sale. For example, we had an incident at home where someone was posting leaflets selling a window cleaning service but had left every gate open on the road. Everyone moaned about that and he didn’t get a single sale up here as a result.
I’ve been doing some online marketing for clients and been increasingly coming across seemingly abandoned web sites. I’ve come up with a list of pointers to look out for which could apply to other directories and Mistress sites to:
- Some of the images on the site don’t load – little red crosses.
- Server errors when you use a contact form.
- Server errors when clicking a link – a broken database.
- Emails bounce back – don’t exist or the mail box is full.
- Emails go unanswered within a month
- Contact information has been removed from the site.
Generally service providers are in business to be contacted and generate more sales. Any new customer needs the ability to make an inquiry as otherwise it’s a waste of time having a business. We all know providing an email address does generate some time wasters but it does in every industry; it’s a necessary evil.
When I look at buying a product, I always look for contact information on a Web site else I don’t buy from there. They may offer the best product at the best price but I get these nagging doubts when I see incomplete contact information and buy from somewhere else. As a business you shouldn’t be creating nagging doubts; negativity in the sales experience.
Another sign I use is to test how quickly emails are answered and whether any effort was put into answering the actual question. So many use auto responders or pasted answers that bare zero resemblance to the customers enquiry. This just frustrates customers and they will simply go some where else. By all means have a selection of pre-written responses and select the appropriate one but if a potential new client is asking something new then an individual response is required or just wave good bye to that sale.
Having the time is often the complaint about answering emails. Every business in every sector has this same issue and simply schedule time into their core business. Answering customers questions isn’t an optional activity, it’s necessary to keep people happy. Happy in terms feeling positive with you as their service provider and to keep buying your merchandise; films etc.
How you appear on a website and how easy it is to communicate with you affects your business. Making yourself more difficult to contact merely fills new customers with suspicion which is never a good start in any relationship.