Article: Contact Methods

by Dawn Gray


How many times have you been visiting a website
and had trouble finding what you wanted? Have
you found a broken link? Did a product
description lack important information?
There are many reasons a visitor may need to
contact a webmaster or customer service agent,
and if they can't, they may never visit your
website again.

I get several email messages a day and the
occasional phone call about questions and
problems from visitors to my website. Those
people are more valuable visitors and potential
customers because they care enough to ask their
question rather than simply taking their
business elsewhere. Are you losing them to your
competitors?

Contact information is more important when your
visitors can't see you in person, such as on
your website. A real address, phone number and
email address establishes credibility and
reassures people that there is a real person
behind the website that can help them if they
have difficulties using the website or the
products they purchase.

If they can't contact you, many people just
won't do business with you. Yahoo has
recognized this and now refuses to list business
websites without contact information, including
a physical address.

You must include your physical address
(preferably NOT a PO Box) and an email address.
I recommend you also include your phone number
and a fax number, if you have one. To look
truly professional, and encourage more people to
call, your phone number should be a tollfree
number.

NOTE: If you have a tollfree number with an
"888", "877" or other area code not widely
recognized as tollfree, include the words "toll
free" nearby and it will work as well as an
"800" number.

Let me tell you from personal experience, it is
extremely frustrating to get to a website
without a method to contact a real person.
Sometimes, websites (especially the corporate
variety) are designed to answer frequently asked
questions, but not unusual ones.

A short time ago, I was in need of an antivirus
program for an NT server. Many antivirus
programs are designed to work with NT
workstations, but not servers. I learned that the
hard way by buying the software and being
unable to install it. (I later discovered they
all have "corporate" versions of their websites
offering their server software, but there is no
link to the corporate websites from their
consumeroriented websites.)

It took me weeks to get through to any of the
major antivirus software vendors to ask them
about NT server software. With Symantec, I was
completely unable to find an email address at
which I could contact a real person. Their
menus excluded my question for their feedback
forms. Neither was I able to find a phone number
on their website I had to search software
manuals from products I had bought previously.

If one antivirus vendor had gotten back with a
straight answer to my question in a day or two,
I probably would have purchased their product
before the others responded.

Needless to say, it left me with a very sour
opinion of Symantec. I will probably never buy
another Symantec product for my own business,
nor recommend them to others.

Don't let this happen to you Offer as much
contact information as possible on your website,
and have real people respond to it in a
reasonable period of time.






About the Author


Dawn Gray has been a website marketing
specialist for the last two years. Get her free
report, "Seven Deadly Website Design Sins" Just
send a blank email to:
mailto:sevendeadly@getresponse.com


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