Recently I was assisting a client to update the details for a long list of their contacts. How hard could that be? With website address in hand no less? You would be surprised at how many companies do not have their contact details easily identifiable on their website. How strange. You would think that this would be one of the most important pieces of information that a company wishes to convey.
And it can be a major source of frustration when it takes much searching to find this basic piece of information. Or worse yet not be able to find it at all.
So, where should contact details be placed on a website?
Always at the bottom of every website page. Usually in smaller font than the rest of the text.
Very desirable as a main menu selection, often as the last item. This will save the visitor from having to burrow down through numerous pages when what they really want is to contact you. Save them the frustration. Studies have revealed that people also search for contact information under the About Us page, so place a link to your Contact page from the About Us page.
What contact details do you include on your Contact page?
- official company name
- phone number, including area code
- email address as a link, automatically opening up in the client’s email account e.g. Microsoft Outlook
- street or postal address, including a Google map for physical address
- fax number (if you still have one)
- a simple contact form
- operating hours, where relevant.
Additionally, if the best and most expected mode of contact is phone and your client base would be seeking this, place the contact number boldly, preferably in the top half of each page. Aesthetics are important but a good website designer should be able to accommodate this.
After all, your website should be about what your client needs. Once they have reviewed what your business offers, we hope that the next step is that they would like to contact you. Don’t make it hard for them to find this vital piece of information, otherwise they may just give up and look elsewhere.
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It’s amazing how a refreshing break from work and business can truly recharge the batteries. Even some of the more tedious tasks, which at the end of a busy year almost put you to sleep, suddenly seem slightly more interesting. Medical research clearly supports the benefits a good holiday have on your health and wellbeing.
And so it is the same with your business. Perhaps it needs recharging – a fresh perspective? Does the way you communicate with your potential clients need a review?
Are you talking to your potential clients in a language that they understand? Working every day in your business can tend to bog you down in the ‘day to day must do’ and result in you forgetting about the face of the business – that critical first impression.
Just as it is important for us to be recharged and gain a fresh perspective – the way you are talking to your clients may also need a boost.
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Your website is not new to you, but how do visitors to your website feel?
Is your website easy to navigate? Can visitors find what they want, quickly? Do people leave in frustration? And how would you know if they did?
You know every nook and cranny of your website, and this alone can pose a problem. To you it is easy to navigate, you know where to find things – it makes perfect sense. To you.
But what about your visitors? To them, your website is new. So, how can you ensure that your website is user friendly?
Communication, in its many forms is a powerful tool, if used wisely. Bad communication, quite simply, equals bad customer service – which does not bode well for any business.
And, according to a recent BDO Service 2020 report, “30 per cent of Australian businesses will need to increase their customer service standards if they want to succeed in the coming decade.” A sobering thought.
So, where do you start in evaluating if you and your staff are serving your customers well?
Unless you are a large corporation, and even those companies need to consider this; you or your staff must answer the telephone personally, not with a recording that gives your valuable customers the option to press 1, 2 or 3 or to “please tell me in your own words what you are calling about today” only to be told, “sorry, I don’t understand you”. That reminds me of the ‘Sick of talking to a machine’ AAMI Insurance advertisement featuring ‘Moira’ whom the machine interpreted as being named ‘Moron’.
Social networking, in whatever sphere, needs a strategy which must be backed up by regular interaction and implemented with careful, considered and consumer-focused communication. Adopt a relaxed, informal approach but avoid being overly personal; remember it is your clients you are speaking to, not your best friend. As with all other business communication it needs to be free of spelling and grammatical errors – yes, even on Facebook!
An example of social media gone wrong was Qantas’ Twitter disaster last November. Clearly they forgot the golden rule of ‘client-focused’ when they attempted a ‘luxury’ promotion attempt just weeks after it had left thousands of travellers stranded.
Your website content should answer some (but not all) of your potential customers’ questions. It must:
- provide various alternative methods to contact you – email, phone, address – and make it obvious; don’t hide these contact options in some obscure place, a common and puzzling phenomenon that only serves to annoy web users
- be free of grammatical and spelling errors
- be well maintained with fresh content; nothing speaks louder than a website with old dates, information that is no longer relevant or links that don’t work
- avoid ‘industry speak’, which can creep into your business. Asking someone external to your business to write for you can eliminate this; a good writer will quickly identify industry speak and find better ways to say what needs to be said, in everyday language.
All of your written communication must be clear, concise, free of errors and most importantly respond to the customer request or query in a professional and helpful manner. It is important to always:
- double-check, before you send, for grammatical and spelling errors
- check the ‘tone’ is positive even if you feel the customer request may be frustrating or petty
- respond in a respectful manner.
Good customer service is all about clear, concise and customer-focused communication.
How well is your business communicating?
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Your website and its content may be the first (and last) impression an online visitor may have of your business.
1. Are online visitors able to navigate easily around your website, and not churn through countless levels to find out information?
2. Can they scan your website and find out what they need? Website visitors only read 25% of what is online, so make it easy for them to get the information they need, quickly and without fuss.
3. Is the content on your website easy to read and targeted at your potential clients? Does it answer their questions? Can it be written in a more effective way?
4. Is there a call to action on every page – have you given your visitors a reason to contact you? Having answered most of your visitor’s questions, the next step should be for them to contact you or place an order.
5. Is your content error free? Content with grammatical errors gives a bad impression of your business. Do you need to have someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time on your website, to give it the once over with a ‘fresh set of eyes’?
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Spending some time assessing the content of your website, or enlisting someone to provide an unbiased assessment of your website can be a vital step toward improving your business.
Keeping your website maintained is vital to your survival in today’s online world.
If you are not already blogging; writing an interesting, relevant, keyword rich article and adding or linking to your website can work wonders.
Is your website out of date?
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Nothing speaks louder than a website with old dates, information that is no longer relevant or links that don’t work.
Although it’s not rocket science, there is an art to writing concise, clear, consumer centric content for your website. We do this every day for our clients, so we have provided some tips on better web writing.
ESTABLISH the market you are writing for – ensure you know your target audience.
WRITE FOR THEM by thinking about what they would want to find out on your website. Think about who will be reading it and what they would hope to find out. What questions might they ask? And then provide answers to those questions. Remember to include ‘keywords’ in your content that your potential clients would enter into their search engine. Continue readingShare on Facebook
Focus! You need to focus on one thing at a time when you create each page of your website. Think about who will be reading it and what they would hope to find out. Think about the questions they may be asking and provide answers to those questions.
Always write clearly and succinctly – or get someone to help you do this. People scan websites, they don’t read every word, so make sure you say what you need to, quickly and well.
What can you do to improve your website? Continue reading