Clear up confusion by setting clear expectations on your contact page.
Your contact page is more than a phone number, email address and contact form. Your contact page is an opportunity for you set clear expectations and boundaries with your potential customers.
I will never forget how exhausted I was in my early days as an entrepreneur. I used my personal cell phone as my business contact which meant I always had it with me. And what do we do when the phone rings? We answer it!
So whatever time of the day or night it was I answered every call. This conveyed the message to my clients, that I am always available. I also found myself starting to resent those clients who called all hours of the night and day. Which of course wasn’t really fair as I am the one that made myself always available.
To add to my struggle I also kept my business email on my personal cell phone, so as you have no doubt guessed, I found myself responding to emails at all hours of the day and night.
It didn’t take long for my clients to begin to expect me to be available 24/7. Being a small business, with no staff at the time, this was not physically possible. And it only lead to some serious exhaustion.
So when it comes to designing your Contact Page, I encourage you to consider the following…
When are you available?
I list my business hours on my website, as well as my consultation hours. This communicates very clearly to my clients and potential clients when I am working and when I am available to consultations. I also have my consultation hours built into my scheduling page, so there is no chance of anyone scheduling outside the hours I have defined.
How do you want your ideal customers to contact you?
I recommend offering multiple avenues, so they have the option to use the one that is most comfortable to them. I would also encourage you to make the method of contact you prefer be the most prominent one displayed on your page.
For example, I prefer my visitors to use the contact form that is built into my website, as this form creates a database of contacts for me. Therefore, you will see that this is the most prominent area on my Contact Page.
I also list my business phone (because I no longer use my personal cell!) and my email address as I am quite comfortable with clients contacting me in this method. If I weren’t comfortable with that form of contact it wouldn’t be listed.
When can they expect a response?
Letting them clearly know up front your response time is important in setting expectations. Offering a vague statement such as, “I will get back to you very soon,” can set unrealistic expectations as your “very soon” and my “very soon” can vary greatly.
I clearly state that I will be in touch within 3 business days, and then strive for one business day. This provides me a bit of a cushion on those days when I have little to no extra time to follow up.
Taking the time to set clear expectations on your Contact page is time that will serve you for years to come, so give a little thought and remember this is your business and you get to create the rules that work for you.