August 23, 2019
Most Contact pages on business websites consist of a form asking the reader to fill in their name, email address, and their message before clicking on a button to submit their comment or question. That may be OK for the average business but it’s not OK for you!
Every page on your website, including your Contact page, is an opportunity for you to show your potential client or customer what it’s like to work with you, and an opportunity for you to make an existing client or customer to fall more in love with you. A customer is usually contacting you because they have a question (before or after making a purchase) or because something went wrong after they’ve paid you, making them nervous. They may be afraid that they’ve been duped, and they need you to sort things out in a way that maintains their confidence in you and your business.
It’s easier to make money from a client or customer who has purchased your services or products in the past than from someone who’s just getting to know you. On top of that, if your clients or customers love what you’ve done for them, some will sing your praises and become unpaid employees as they recommend your services or products to others! Your job, then, with the help of your website generally, and your Contact page in particular, is to make your client or customer fall in love with you, even if they’re reaching out to you because of an issue.
how to make a contact page your customers will love
- Add one or two opening sentences at the top of your Contact page, explaining why the visitor should fill out the contact form. Your introduction should capture your warmth and friendliness, or the overall vibe of your website—you’re going for “Hi, how can I help?” rather than “Neeexxt!”.
- Set expectations upfront regarding when the person filling out the form will receive a reply from you*. If you have business hours, include them on the page as a way of managing expectations.
- If it works for you and your business, offer other ways of reaching you (e.g., phone, email, telepathy…).
- If you have a frequently asked questions page, include a link to it—the person contacting you may solve their problem without you!
- The person filling out the contact form may not appreciate this, but ask for their email address twice, so that you have their correct email address: the last thing you want is for someone to blame you for not replying to them when you replied to their incorrectly entered email address!
- Create a more detailed Contact page (see mine) if you know you’ll need more information in order to give a complete answer.
If you have a Contact page, you must connect the comments you receive to an email address that you check regularly, preferably daily! There’s nothing worse than reaching out about something important and never hearing back, or hearing back months later! Respond to comments and questions you receive in a timely manner, and I recommend that you prioritize responding to feedback from paying clients, who hopefully have a more direct way to reach you than through the contact form!
*Earlier on, I asked you to set expectations by telling people when they can expect to hear back from you. This is an area where you want to under-promise and over-deliver: set high personal standards for your response time, but indicate that it takes longer on your Contact page—this really impresses people. I recommend that you respond right away if you can, and within 12–24 hours at the most, so on your Contact page, you can say that responses will be provided in 36–48 hours.
responding to questions, comments, and other feedback
My best advice when considering how to respond is to think back to your best customer service experience (mine is with Starbucks!) and provide your version of the same.
- Personalize your response as much as possible—use the name provided on the contact form.
- Lead with gratitude: where applicable, express appreciation for their time or support before addressing their concern.
- Respond with warmth and understanding; be empathetic. Send the response that you would be happy to receive as a client or customer, even if you can’t give the client or customer what they want. Communication is an art and with time (or with a copy editor to help you come up with some sample responses!), it will become easier for you to respond appropriately.
- Leave your ego out of it: when someone sends you an untrue or less-than-complimentary message about you or your business, it’s easy to get worked up about it because you know your heart and your intentions. After you’ve had your moment of “How dare they!”, read the comment again, objectively this time, as if you’re doing it for someone else’s business. This may help you see some truths that weren’t initially apparent, and allow you to respond with empathy.
- Lead with an apology and take responsibility (e.g., you can say something like “I’m sorry that the image you ordered was smaller than you expected—I can see how our website might be confusing because the image dimensions are only on the home page. I’ll add image dimensions to all pages where the image is displayed”.
- Offer to make the situation right when you can. You could offer a refund or a replacement, or send a token of your appreciation.
- If the person contacting you is upset and is threatening legal action, remain calm and avoid name-calling. Document your communication diligently.
A strong Contact page combined with great follow-up can only serve your business. Even if you follow all of the advice above, you won’t please everyone; this is where the phrase “Do your best and leave the rest” applies. It’s not fun knowing that someone out there dislikes you despite your efforts, but that’s life, my friend!
You know good customer service when you receive it; make sure that you’re giving it to everyone who comes across your website. and especially to those who fill out your contact form!
What updates do you need to make to your Contact page?
Elevate my writing
Elevate My Writing is a copy editing service for online business owners. You’re the expert on what you do; my job is to take what you write about what you do and polish it so that you make the right first impression and present your brand in the best possible light!