Getting website sales isn’t all about product pages and shopping carts. Many business owners forget there is a whole conversion funnel every visitor goes through before choosing whether or not to make a purchase on your site.
One of the most important aspects of that funnel is the “Contact Us” information and page on your site!
Contact Us can have a powerful impact on a site’s ability to generate sales and leads. Not only does it provide a way for potential customers to connect with you, it should also offer multiple contact options and ultimately deliver assurance that assistance is just a phone call or click away if a need arises.
While many websites are smartly displaying their phone numbers on every page of their site, this strategic bit of placement is no replacement for a well-crafted Contact Us page. Unfortunately, too many sites make their contact page (and phone number) difficult, if not impossible, to find.
Sometimes, contacting you is the only way for customers to get the information they need to make a smart, informed purchase. When questions come up, and you don’t answer them, you can be sure your competitors will. And, they’ll get the sale because of it.
A quick search for “contact” related keywords (minus those intended for “contact lenses” shows that there are quite a number of searches being performed each month:
Of course, not all of these are searches for your contact information, and there are quite a number of brands that top the list (Apple, Google, and Norton were some of the top brand “contact” queries), this does show that there is value in having an optimized Contact Us page that does more than make your site search listings in Google, but is optimized to get the conversion once someone lands on it.
The argument against having a contact page is usually that it increases the need for support staff to answer phone calls, email, faxes (joke) and Web forms. This is true, but you have to run the percentages. If the value of increased sales is greater than the cost of support, you have a surefire winner!
When shoppers don’t feel they are able to reach a real person to address their question, problems or concerns because of limited contact options, they are less likely to buy. Below are some options for improving your Contact Us page, increasing your sales as a result.
Site-Wide Contact Links
Placing your phone number in your header is great. Having a “Contact Us” link in your primary navigation is smart. But these two contact options only cover a small percentage of what makes visitors feel secure doing business with you. More is needed if you want to increase your sales and lead generation capabilities.
Add global, site-wide contact options throughout your site. While navigation “Contact Us” links tend to blend in, look for opportunities to add contact buttons or linked text throughout your site.
Try different verbiage such as “request a quote,” “talk to a representative,” “get your questions answered,” “let us help you,” etc. These varying word changes and buttons will not only stand out, but will encourage visitors to seek out support rather than abandon the site for another.
Multiple Contact Options
On your contact page, a phone number is not enough. An email address link isn’t enough. A Web form is not enough. An online chat option is not enough. By themselves, none of these options are significant, but all are a part of a successful Contact Us page.
The problem with visitors is they all have their own preference. Not everyone likes (or even can) pick up the phone and call you. Maybe they are at work, or the TV is loud, or the kids are, well, being kids. Or maybe they are running out the door and want to come back to an answer via email. Maybe they don’t want to make a decision now, which means online chat is the best option for them and the best way for you to get a sale now.
The point is everyone is different. If you don’t have a contact option that works for them, they may skip it, and the sale, too. Sometimes, a contact option is nothing more than security. Having a phone number visible provides the security that someone will be able help them, which makes them feel confident that you’ll also answer your email promptly. To these types, the phone number provides confidence and security.
The more options you provide, the more secure the shopper becomes about your ability to assist them in a time of need.
Various Contact Points
Not every visitor will need to contact you for the same purpose. Some might have questions about your products or services, others might be looking for information on shipping or guarantees, while others may want to talk to the billing or return departments. You’ll also have those who are looking for job information, want to give you verbal pat on the back (it can happen) or need to talk with someone in a specific department. One-size-fits-all contact options are not the best option for your visitors.
Providing multiple points of contact gets your visitors where they want to go without the danger of getting lost in a “general” email/voicemail box or the requirement of listening to a menu tree as large as an Oregon Redwood. Too often, people get frustrated trying to find the right person to help them. Making this easier on them reduces frustration and builds a stronger customer relationship.
Map & Driving Directions
If you are a local business with local customers, or even a national business that has a destination-type location (i.e., ski supplies in Colorado, potatoes in Idaho, steaks in Omaha, etc.), it’s a good idea to display a map with the option to provide driving directions to your store.
Local customers will always want to know where you are, even if they don’t plan on dropping by. It’s a great way to highlight easy access. It also gives the perception that because you’re “there” (local), you might know a bit more than the guys who are not.
A simple map to your store or office can help people relate to you in a way they don’t with large national chains. Many people like to do business with small businesses, provided they feel safe doing so. A map may not make them feel safe, but it can make them feel more at home and at ease.
Hours Of Operation
If you have specific hours each day for doing business or answering phones, returning emails, etc., it’s a good idea to display your hours of operation on the Contact Us page. This information can also be marked up using Schema.org attributes to display this information search results as well. This sets visitors’ expectations regarding when they can expect to reach someone or get a response. In customer satisfaction, expectations are everything!
Online Contact Form
Online contact forms are a great way to allow visitors to reach you without mass interruption. This allows you to respond on your time and to handle multiple responses all in the same block of time. Be sure to respond to all contact requests within 24 hours at the most, though the sooner you do, the better off you’ll be. Who knows, maybe they are posing the same question on multiple sites and the first response gets the sale!
Reduce the contact form to as little information as necessary to handle a request. Name, phone number, email address and comments are the basics. Don’t add anything else unless it’s absolutely necessary. When customers feel they have to submit a survey just to get someone to respond, they are less likely to do it and more likely to move on to another site. Keep the form as clean and simple as possible.
Live Online Chat
Adding a live chat option can be great for keeping customers on your site and getting their question answered before they run off to another site as they wait for your answer. Not everyone wants to chat live, but those that do appreciate the ability to reach a representative without a long delay or a phone menu tree from hell.
Just make sure all your online reps are skilled customer service people who can truly answer questions and not just point them back to the website.
When shoppers are not secure in a website’s ability to respond to their concerns, either before or after the sale, the trust level diminishes. Without a strong level of trust, your ability to get a sale is reduced, as well. By improving your Contact Us page, you increase the trust component that leads to increased leads and sales.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.