At the very minimum, you should have your address (for those who want to send you snail mail), a phone number and an email address where they can reach you, all in an easy-to-find location on your site. Once you have the basics covered, there are a few other ways you can make it even easier for your customers to contact you.
Here are four ways to make it easy for your customers to contact you:
Have a local and toll free number
Having a toll free number is great. Its free for your customers to call, makes your business look bigger and if you have a vanity number, is easy to remember. There is one drawback though; you’re alienating your international customers.
Unfortunately, not all countries support toll free numbers and while there are a few ways around this, they aren’t easy and the costs can be high. That’s where a local number comes in.
By adding a local number to the mix, it makes it easier for international callers to reach you. It also establishes a local presence for your business. Toll free numbers are great and all, but they can sometimes hurt your business by giving off the image you are a big corporate company, even if you’re a one person shop.
Implement live chat on your site
Although this option isn’t feasible for everyone, for those who have the resources to implement live chat on their site, this is a really fantastic way to make your customers’ lives easier. It requires minimal effort on the customers’ end and the conversations happen in realtime, meaning their questions get resolved much faster (a more pleasant experience for both of you).
For customers, live chat takes the frustration out of trying to find your contact information or waiting on hold, only to hear an automated greeting and instructions to push 1 for this, 2 for that and then getting disconnected. Let’s be honest, we all hate that. Nothing is more satisfying for a customer than being able to open up a chat box and have a conversation in real time almost instantaneously — well, probably besides getting their question answered.
Either way, live chat is a great option if you have the resources. It will decrease the amount of support calls, decrease the on-hold wait time and give you a great deal of insight into how your customers interact with your site.
Establish and monitor your social presence
If you haven’t done so already, establish a social media presence for your business. While it’s different for every business and industry, it’s probably best to at least have a Facebook page and Twitter account, especially if the purpose is customer service.
In fact, social media can be just as great of a customer service tool as live chat is. Some of your customers would do anything to not have to call your customer support line, so having a social presence, somewhere they’re already active and can ask questions, can mean the difference between them choosing you over your competitors.
One word of caution though, if you’re going to have a social media presence for your business make sure it is monitored. Nothing will tick your customers off more than not getting a response to their inquiries. If you aren’t going to monitor your social presence all the time, make it very clear what hours, including time zones, you’ll be monitoring and responding to tweets or posts in your bios or information sections.
Include contact information in all customer communications
We all email our customers, whether it’s to welcome them to your company, let them know their account is activated, notify them their order has shipped, or reply to their support question, you probably send quite a few of these emails each day. These are all great opportunities to make your customers aware of where they can find you.
You can even customize each email with the appropriate form of contact information to make their lives easier. For example, in your welcome email, it may be a good idea to include your social presence. Invite them to connect with your company, talk to other customers and become a part of your community. Send activation emails? Give them the toll free number for the department that deals with activations so if there are any issues with their account, they have a direct line to someone who can help.
All of these options are great in and of themselves, but don’t just stop there. It’s important to make sure all of these are integrated with one another. Make sure you include your support numbers on your Twitter profile and Facebook page and vice versa. Do you promote your social presence in your emails and on your website? You can’t just assume your customers know where and how to contact. It’s your job to make sure at every touch point they have an easy way to get your contact information.
How are you making it easy for your customers to contact you? Tell us in the comments section!
Allison Canty is the Social Media Coordinator at Grasshopper, a virtual phone system for entrepreneurs. She manages the online social presence for Grasshopper and is passionate about internet and social media marketing. You can connect with Allison via Twitter at @AliCanty.