When was the last time you left a voice mail message for a company you were considering doing business with? For example, if you had a leaky faucet and called a plumber, but got their voicemail, would you leave a message? For the vast majority of us, the answer is “No.” We just move on and contact the next vendor on the list. The bigger question is “Why don’t we — or won’t we leave a message?”

Meme contact formThe reasons are threefold: First, we simply don’t want to wait. We have become accustomed to getting the answers to what we want when we want them. Whether it is being able to order items online 24-7, or simply asking Alexa or Google Home for the answer to a question. Today we don’t wait for a response. The information is at our fingertips and purchases are available with just one click.

The second reason is that there is an almost endless selection of other options available to us. Virtually everyone is good these days because if they weren’t, the marketplace would “out” them in short order. Face it, quality choices abound.

The final reason why we don’t leave a message is because we don’t know when, or if, someone will get back to us. The same dynamic exists with your website contact form. The “contact form” is the answering machine of the internet. Nobody wants to fill it out. They want direct contact information to a real person. Get rid of it!

Here is the uncomfortable truth: If the only way for your customers (or prospective customers) to reach a real person at your business is through your website’s contact form, then you need to know that your form is driving away more prospects than your worst employee. It’s costing you a fortune in lost business.

To be clear, I understand why you have a contact from. You want to funnel all your messages to one person or department. You want to capture their contact information. You want to get a sense of what the question or problem is before you return their call. You want to avoid scaring people away with your unpublished price so you have them fill out the form so you can ascertain their needs and have a sales rep call them back to have a real conversation and tailor your solutions to their individual needs. Blah, blah blah.  The reasons go on and on.

The problem is that they are YOUR reasons. News Flash: Your customers don’t care about your reasons and they certainly don’t want to contact you the way you want them to. Your customers want to contact you the way THEY want to. And if you restrict their access or their communication options, you are driving them away — in droves.

The solution: Give them options! Sure, you can have a contact form, but also post a key staff directory with contact options. Give them phone numbers, email addresses and after hours options. I know you are reluctant, but your customers don’t care! Your customers want to connect with a real person. If you won’t let them, then they will contact your competitors. Trust me, it happens millions of times every day. Look! There goes another one.

David Avrin, CSP is the author of the upcoming book: Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back) 2019 Career Press. He is also a popular international speaker on Customer Experience and Marketing. Learn more and watch a preview video at www.DavidAvrin.com

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