As a PR specialist and author, I visit media websites on an almost daily basis — TV stations, radio stations, newspaper and magazines for which you’d think being accessible to viewers/listeners/readers would be a top priority. But you’d be astonished at how many don’t provide even the most basic contact information. I don’t need the CEO’s private cell number, for Pete’s sake, but a generic front desk or “info@” email seems reasonable to expect, and when it takes me five minutes to find that — or I can’t find it at all — it’s frustrating.
In my case, I’m generally looking to gain information, or share some, with that specific media source, so I can’t just say, “Forget you!” and move on. But if I were a customer and had to use up that much time simply searching for a way to engage with you, you can bet your competitor just moved to the head of my line.
As the provider of a product or service — unless you’re with the Witness Protection Program and trying to demonstrate your expertise — you need to make it as easy as possible to connect with potential customers. That begins with accessibility, so make sure your phone number, email address, and contact link/form are prominently displayed on your website, preferably on every page, or tabbed with something obvious like “Contact Us.” People come to your website or social media page for a reason — and one of the likeliest is that they want more information; don’t turn their interest into annoyance by forcing them to root around like a pig in pursuit of prize truffles because, guess what? They may decide you’re not worth the effort!
It’s fine to get creative, and we all know content is king, but don’t get so caught up in your efforts to sing your praises or sell your wares that you lose sight of why you’re on the Internet in the first place: to connect with your market. Mystique is not what most of us want when it comes to doing business; time is money, and the less of that your customer has to expend to get what he or she wants from you, the better you’ll fare.
Recently I got lost on the way to a business meeting. My GPS guided me . . . right to the middle of nowhere. There was no directional information on the company’s website, nor could I find a phone number. When I dialed my contact’s cell phone, I got a voicemail with an “emergency” number to call, but no one answered that number, either — nor did anyone answer the sundry options that number offered. Long story short, when I finally — through a blend of swearing, prayer and frantic phone calls to friends with access to Google Maps — found the place (which was there in the middle of nowhere — but without benefit of directional signage to its very-much-off-the-beaten-path building) — there was no one at the front desk, either. Good thing I wasn’t trying to deliver a million dollar check from Publisher’s Clearing House, huh?
Whether it’s online, on the phone or in the flesh, don’t treat people who come looking to do business with you like last week’s leftovers. Show them you care about their interest and their time by making it easy to get in touch. Because the bottom line is that if you don’t make every effort to connect with your customers, before long, you might not have any!