If your website is your company’s digital real estate, your contact page is the front desk. This is the page where you actively invite your website visitors to reach out to you. Considering how important first impressions are in business, it’s crucial that you ensure this page facilitates smooth contact between yourself and your customers. Unfortunately, the contact page can too often be treated as an afterthought.
Think of the times you have visited a business’s contact page. What do you typically see? Likely a dialog box to send an email, and maybe a phone number to call. While this is a good start, businesses can do much more to improve this page and to make it better at connecting with potential customers and new leads.
Today’s customers like to feel as if they can engage in real-time conversations with businesses. According to McKinsey, three-quarters of online customers expect help within five minutes of making contact.
There is good news and bad news. Let’s get the latter out of the way first.
The not-so-good news is that your traditional contact form is likely out-of-date, and it’s not making a good impression on potential new customers. However, the good news is that this is an easy fix!
Today, merely listing your company’s address, phone number, and email is no longer enough—particularly for the growing millennial and Gen Z crowd. As indicated by the McKinsey stat above, people want information and answers now. That means that they are looking for faster alternative forms of contact, rather than phone and email.
Email may seem like a fast way for a customer to contact you, but in practice, once all delays in the process are accounted for, it isn’t. According to Call Centre Helper, 95 percent of companies answer emails within four hours – and four hours is a very long time. That means that your customers could be waiting up to four hours to receive an answer to a question. That is 240 minutes where your customers aren’t engaged with your business —and may even be visiting your competition.
And when your customer support team does email a response, there is no guarantee that the message will reach the customer. There’s a high chance that it could end up in a spam folder or be overlooked by the customer. Between delays and problems actually “closing the loop” with the customer, email alone is clearly not good enough.
You want to invest in real-time messaging tools to cut down on that four-hour response time, and respond immediately. Remember that “immediate,” according to McKinsey, is five minutes or less. Ultimately, lengthy response times could lead to two very harmful consequences: lost leads and frustrated customers.
Just imagine the following scenario. A customer is shopping for a “software-as-a-service” product. They need to make a quick decision about whether to buy because they will use the tool to help with a new project at work. A four-hour wait time for an email reply is unacceptable, because that’s a full half of a business day. This person only has 10 minutes to spare to receive an answer, or they are going to check into a competitor. You run the risk of losing significant business if you don’t answer that potential customer fast.
Customers at the top of the sales funnel have not built loyalty with you and don’t have a reason to be patient. Additionally, even existing customers may consider other options if you don’t consistently give them quick responses to their questions.
To really give customers the immediate response they are looking for, it’s crucial to include real-time messaging in your contact page strategy.
If you are wondering how to improve your “contact us” page, the fix isn’t hard. You can boost its effectiveness right away by adding a live chat feature via a plugin or app. This can be in the form of a widget or a direct link that connects your website visitors to a live chat agent.
In recent years, live chat and instant messaging platforms have soared in popularity. And that makes sense, as data compiled by Econsultancy has revealed that live chat has the highest satisfaction levels of any customer service channel.
What are the benefits when companies add real-time messaging to their contact pages? Let’s take a look at the specifics of both live chat and chat bots.
Customers are seeking rapid answers to their questions. Fortunately, a live chat agent can facilitate both personalization and a near-instant response. This customer support method also significantly cuts down on that four-hour wait time that typically comes from email.
Live chat is a great option if your business sells products or services that require substantial research. If you’re in the tech or software industry, your customers will very likely have pre-sale questions. If you can catch them during their research process and engage them directly, you have the chance to address their questions as they decide whether to buy – and your business will stand out compared to competitors that don’t offer this real-time conversation opportunity.
Live chat is also great for speeding up conversations, because agents have the ability to answer all of a customer’s follow-up questions at once. Rather than emails going back and forth for days as customers try to clarify issues and determine if your product or service is right for them, the entire conversation can take place naturally over just a few minutes.
Live chat options help customers make quick decisions by providing rapid and customized answers. They can also turn your contact page into a real-time contact form, contributing to a rise in customer satisfaction.
Chat bots can complement your live chat efforts. Not only can they be used to make life easier for live chat agents by routing relevant questions their way, but they can also offer 24/7 support, to handle customer questions outside of normal business hours.
And where a live chat agent could take a minute—or longer—to react to a customer inquiry, a chat bot can be programmed to provide an instant response. Chat bots that respond right away show customers that you’re available to engage in real time, and then you can connect them with an agent when and if that is necessary, depending on the customer’s needs.
Here are a few other ways that a chat bot can optimize your contact page:
Ultimately, both live chat and chat bots can optimize your contact page and help you get the most out of it. It’s a win-win! Customers receive near-instant communication while you have tools in place to respond quickly and efficiently to both new leads and existing customers.
Now, let’s say that you are using a live chat agent on your “contact us” page. How can this individual be notified when a customer is there? Fortunately, you can set up real-time website visitor alerts for your customer service teams, so they’ll be ready to assist customers the moment they reach out via your live chat widget.
Notifications are even more effective if your chat agents are using any live messaging tools on their mobile devices. Instead of waiting on an email alert, you can trigger and send mobile push notifications that let them know customers have arrived on key pages.
And what do your live chat agents do while they are monitoring the page? Well, this is where proactive chat comes into play. They don’t have to wait for a customer to reach out to them. They can take the lead and initiate the first communications with visitors. This is especially useful because customers might not always be aware of what live chat has to offer, and reaching out proactively can introduce them to the ways it can help.
A contact page that reaches out to visiting customers is an excellent way to make a good impression on website visitors looking for immediate responses. Seventy-nine percent of customers prefer live chat because it offers immediate responses. A proactive approach to live chat will help to deliver the instant communication customers are seeking.
Contact pages still have a role to play, but they can be supplemented—and largely replaced—with a well-designed chat widget deployed across your site. Remember, you want to make the act of reaching out to you as easy as possible, and a site-wide chat widget could be the best alternative to an ineffective contact us page.
A chat widget is a constant companion for customers as they navigate your site. Customers don’t have to go to another page to get their questions answered, and it cuts down on the steps customers have to go through to contact you. Live chat agents or chat bots can both easily provide a contact phone number or email address for your company, if that is what the customer is looking for – but they can also offer direct and immediate communication that is likely to be more useful and efficient.
A contact widget makes interactions with your business more seamless for your customers. Suppose a customer has almost completed an order when they realize they have a question about a product. Requiring them to navigate away from that order page is risky, and moves them further from the conversion “finish line.” With a live chat widget on every page, instead of going to another tab or window and typing out their issue into an email form, the customer could ask a question on the very page where they have the problem.
At Formilla we use chat widgets to follow customers throughout their journey on our website, as you can see in the image above. It’s an excellent way to provide customers with an ever-present resource that is available to answer their questions at a second’s notice. If you’d like to see live chat and chat bots in action on a corporate site, head on over to ours and check it out.
You may still have some need for a traditional contact page, but once you’ve experimented with the more modern alternative, you may find that a chat widget is the better option.
Your customers visit the webpages of various businesses during their product research, and you can make yours stick out by adding real-time communication tools to your contact page.
Ultimately, the goal is to make it seamless for your customers to reach out to you on your business site. The traditional contact us page is in many ways outdated and ineffective. You can combat that by implementing tools that can provide immediate responses to your website visitors.
To get started using live chat and chat bots on your site to give customers real-time ways to contact your business, sign up for a free trial of Formilla.