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A tip perhaps for new, online, businesses

Discussion in 'Other discussions' started by JacquiPryor, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. JacquiPryor

    JacquiPryor Renowned Member

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    Wasn't quite sure where to post this so here it is!

    Obviously on Flying Solo we are introduced to a lot of a new business owners, and get to critique new websites for a variety of businesses.

    Almost every time I check out a new member's site, or review a website on the 'Tell it to me straight' forum I feel like I am providing the same comment so thought a singular post could address that.

    Contact Us Information and/or About Us Information at a website should always, IMO, include real contact information!

    Be it personally or professionally I will not engage a business that appears hard to contact or hard to find... a web-form as the only means of contact does not cut it for me. Granted, I actually prefer email/online communications and would opt for these but in the event email or web goes unanswered I want to know my options to get in contact with a supplier/provider.

    I always check out some credentials before paying a supplier for anything. Having this information at a website instills trust and doesn't result in a prospective customer/client having to search for that information... as business owners we should be making it easy for clients/prospects to get in touch with us rather than it being a mystery.

    So - my singular piece of feedback to anyone/everyone in business operating a website - please include at an easy to locate place:

    • Business/company name (that of course will be registered with ASIC when I check their database)
    • ABN - which again you will of course have if you are operating a business in Australia
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • Location/address - I understand some of us small business owners work from home and may not wish to publish a full address. Include a PO Box mailing address or general location (suburb/state) at the very least.
    By all means include a web-form at your site, but, please give me some additional contact options. Above I mentioned that only a web-form doesn't cut it for me... I'll go a step further. If this is your only contact method, I will not be purchasing your product or service. Am I alone on that? I don't think I am so it presents the question - how many sales are lost simply because these additional details are not listed at a website?

    Rant over... point made. Thanks!
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  2. arrowwise

    arrowwise Active Member

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    Jacqui great post. Totally agree. You want to know a bit more about who you may entrust with your business, and how easily you can contact them further if you need to.

    There are still many successfully businesses that seem to get away with not much more than a submit form on their contact page. It's the norm for many online businesses whether we like it or not.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
    Corey and JacquiPryor like this.
  3. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    Jacqui, I agree 200% (is that possible), and add to that the number of times you fill in a contact form, and never get a response to your query, how much business are people letting fly out the window.
  4. Johny

    Johny Well-Known Member

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    I agree Jacqui.

    Let's ask another question though - How many people like receiving cold calls/emails?

    From what I have seen on discussions here most would rather get the plague than receive cold calls.

    I am happy to be corrected on this, but once you publish a phone number on a website you open yourself up further to cold calls, which many consider to be spam. While there are other restrictions in anti spamming laws, having that phone number on a website certainly allows the door to be opened.

    Is it possible that may be part of the reason for a lack of contact information?
    JacquiPryor likes this.
  5. arrowwise

    arrowwise Active Member

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    Fair point Johny but is this really the reason why many choose not to publish their number? It's more of a business decision on how they choose to operate against their business model.

    Most would compromise the opportunity for more business for a few more cold calls as a result of publishing a phone number.
  6. Johny

    Johny Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, hence the question. I suspect it may play some part, but I really don't know.

    My experience in many cases is that people simply don't want to be contacted where they can avoid it. Perhaps an expectation that they have the website and that's all that is needed to attract attention/sales/opportunity.

    I deal with procurement departments, the people that are involved in buying stuff for their company. Recently I have even had several cases where I am told I can't have contact details due to privacy concerns. If a company won't give out contact details what does that say about the willingness to receive communication?

    Unfortunately, while I agree with Jacqui's comments, I also think we tend to want things done a certain way (have easily available contact details), but when we are on the receiving end, want it done another way (make it hard to receive contact).

    I am of course speaking in general terms, and overall am much more positive when I have the chance to make more direct contact than just with a website contact form.

    I also think it is much more important in small business to be able to make that personal contact as often it is that personal side that makes all the difference, especially when things are new.
    JacquiPryor likes this.
  7. JacquiPryor

    JacquiPryor Renowned Member

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    Do I like receiving cold calls? Not all the time, no. However I too would rather put up with them among legitimate calls from prospects rather than miss those opportunities.

    "My experience in many cases is that people simply don't want to be contacted where they can avoid it. Perhaps an expectation that they have the website and that's all that is needed to attract attention/sales/opportunity."

    I think that's hitting a nail on the head and whilst I understand that people may not want to be contacted or prefer everything to be online and let the website do the work, I do think there has to be missed sales opportunities for businesses operating this way? Like I said in the OP - I would actually prefer the email or web form option most of the time. I'm an online user through and through and if I can do what I need to do without picking up a phone I'm a happy camper but I want to know I can contact via other means if needed.

    Moving from the contact side - Business/company name (that of course will be registered with ASIC when I check their database). How many people actually check this before handing money over to a supplier online?

    It's surprising how many times I have come across 'businesses' but can't find any business registration, ABN or similar. So, I then check whois information on the website address for clues... only to find half the time those details have been made private. Mix this with nothing more than a web-form at a their site, it surprises may people are so happy to hand over money to a complete mystery person or business. Maybe I am thinking too much about it or am being too cynical?
    Johny likes this.
  8. JacquiPryor

    JacquiPryor Renowned Member

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    In this scenario, I'll accept 200% as a possibility!

    I am feeling a bit like a grump on the topic this week! Yes, if you have only a form and someone uses it, make sure you reply! Test your forms to make sure they're working!
    MYOK and Paul - FS Concierge like this.
  9. Byron Trzeciak

    Byron Trzeciak Active Member

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    Funny you mention this, I had a client in the heating and cooling space that spoke to me at the end of the month for an SEO campaign and said that he didn't feel that he was getting a return for his investment.

    I said "that's strange because we've tracked our best month of conversions yet, do you mind if we run through it so I can get a better idea for what's happening".

    I said "so, you had an evap cooling system for a four bedroom house on this date" and "you had 3 split systems for a 4 bed home on this date and that all came through your contact form"

    "They seem like great jobs, so what happened?"

    His response after some mumbling

    "To be honest Byron, I don't read any of the emails because I don't have time. I just wait for them to call me back instead"

    Not only was he not answering his emails, he was expecting the customer to jump through countless hoops to get in touch with them. I even saw a few customers contact him twice for no response, that's some great leads that are nice enough to contact you twice.

    So you're not wrong, some businesses are letting a tonne of money fly right out the window.

    [​IMG]
  10. JacquiPryor

    JacquiPryor Renowned Member

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    I for one probably wouldn't make a second contact! A couple of years ago we were re-carpeting the house... submitted the online form with a well-known flooring company, with their message telling me I'd have my 'quote' within 24-48 hours... I'm still waiting. Suffice to say we opted for another supplier.

    If you don't have time/desire to respond to people, fine - but don't grumble or question why business isn't doing better than it could be!
  11. elissa.doxey

    elissa.doxey Member

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    While I do get annoyed at the spammy marketing calls, I do think it's important for prospective clients to contact me directly.

    Contact forms are great - and I don't get nearly as much spamming now I have recaptcha - but as a customer, I want to know that I have another avenue of contact...especially if things get messy.

    Elissa
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  12. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    I'm in the club that has a major issues with contact forms. I recently had quite an expensive online order go west because no one had taken responsibility for clearing the emails.

    The order was for over a 1000 dollars with a large online tool supplier...the only thing that saved the day was a good old phone number.

    No phone no. no order imo.
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  13. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    I agree, no second chances with me.

    Plus the other thing to consider, and this goes back to your original point of including a phone number, if I am looking for carpet or a lawn mower guy, or a trademark expert, I want to know now, not wait 24 to 48 hours (or never),

    So if I have the option of Jacqui's lawns which has a phone number or BB1's lawns which only has a contact form, I am contacting Jacqui.
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  14. Byron Trzeciak

    Byron Trzeciak Active Member

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    Based on what I've seen for my clients Bert, I absolutely agree. Phone calls will be the largest % of leads for tradies in my opinion.

    With my own business I've also noticed leads who don't add a phone number, or put a fake number, are 100% of the time - dud leads. In saying that though for my own business I'd see a far greater number of contact form enquiries than I would direct phone calls, so I think the industry and type of services definitely determines what you'll get more of.

    I think if you don't have both you'll be losing leads - some people like calls and others like contact forms. Just give them what they want and get the lead and make sure your team is prepared to answer whichever enquiry you get quickly.
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  15. JacquiPryor

    JacquiPryor Renowned Member

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    To be fair you should be able to contact BB1's lawns with or without a phone number ;)
  16. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    Had a good laugh, I just got home from work, and they did contact BB1, not by phone, but no phone number for me to ring them back on.


    Hello,

    I need some lawn mowing completed asap at XX XXXXXXX Blvd, Beaconsfield.

    I was wondering if/when you can do it?

    With thanks,

    XXXXX XXXXX
  17. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    2c worth here.

    I have phone number and contact form on every page and do not have a contact us page.

    Some of our largest jobs have come through email, others through phone.

    I find both work very well so recommend having both on every page for local service businesses.
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  18. Byron Trzeciak

    Byron Trzeciak Active Member

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    Totally agree Paul, contact form on every page is a must have. Besides if you've built your website correctly then not every visitor will land on your home page so you need to make sure that all pages are just as effective with capturing the conversion.
    Paul - FS Concierge likes this.

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