There are many requirements that all businesses need in order to be a legal entity in America regardless of what category they fall under.. In fact, the paperwork alone can give people pause in starting their own business. However, it is necessary, especially for the peace of mind for the everyday consumer.
I love going to company websites to see all the products they have as well as a blog, charitable events they partake in, and pictures of the important people in the company, namely the founder and CEO. The home page gives everyone an idea of what the company is about, and for that, it makes things easier for the consumer.
What happens when the website does not provide a “contact” tab or worse, only gives you 1-800 numbers to contact them? Customers generally will find a way to share feedback, even if it’s in the form of a complaint on another website. I never thought that companies would have such an elusive form of contacting them until I tried looking up the information for Amazon.
I spent a good thirty minutes on the Amazon website looking for their contact information only to be left frustrated. I had to Google “amazon contact information” to find the answers I looked for. It is not really obvious on their home page which makes it difficult not only for me to find but for me to understand.
You would think that businesses would want their customers to have easy access to their contact information but that is not always the case.
Here’s a complaint that I saw earlier today:
I was upset at my insurance company over my homeowners policy. I wanted to go on their website and find how to email them my comments. However, after what seemed like hours of looking around all I found was frustration. The contact pages all lead to lengthy automated forms to fill out, the phone numbers are all 1-800 numbers with long wait times. Hey help me...help you! Make your customer service department's contact info easy to find online.
How can a company eliminate customer complaint like the one above? Make their contact information very easy to find. It can be really easy to feel insignificant in a world where more than a billion wireless consumers exist. Companies should take this as a challenge and not give up so easily.
I believe that a company should be forthright about their business especially their contact information. I have provided a short list of what each website needs in order to aid the average customer.
1. Provide an Email Address
Every website should have the ability to let the users access to email them. This is a great way for businesses to gain contact information for potential buyers, get free feedback that allows the company to rectify any incidents that would lead to a bad review, and gives the user and company the opportunity to meet even if it is through email. Communication is the most powerful weapon in a company’s arsenal.
Email helps you get back to your customers quickly without them having to wait on hold. Over and over stats have shown that customers hate waiting on hold to talk to someone in customer support. It's probably their least favorite thing to do.
2. Make Customer Service #1
Every complaint that I have read was about the lack of good quality service. Quality service can be difficult to quantify, for people’s opinions vary on this matter, but the whole can agree on certain qualities that I would like to share.
It should be worth noting that many customers try to contact companies and their complaint department. Sadly many of them end up not receiving a good experience. Those problems end up on someone's private Facebook wall or a corporate Twitter page.
Don’t forget the useful adage: the customer is always right. I have no idea who coined that phrase, but boy does it ring true. The customer is always right.
3. Answer Your Phone
This is an important yet often overlooked issue. Many times a consumer might need to call the company as opposed to email them or they might need to send back a product that they bought. Need data shows we spend on average 13 hours waiting on hold every year. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out how to return the item only to have no address.
Then, as the consumer, you try to look for a phone number to call to get the information only to be given a 1-800 number. Businesses, please, we are in a new era with technology. We do not need a 1-800 phone number anymore. Leave a legit number with an area code and everything. It makes customers feel better about not only reaching you but about your company as well.
4. Provide Useful Contact Info
This is crucial! On the home page of the company’s website, there should be a few tabs for the user to click. One of those tabs NEEDS to be a contact information tab. That tab should have an email address, company address, phone number(s), and any other impertinent information.
Everything should be easy for the user to browse your website and not pull their hair out trying to reach the company. That would be a fail to any business.
A great example of who knows how to leave good contact information would be my local coffee shop. On the home page they have the coffee shop address, email address, phone number, and business hours. The website is simple, clean, and user friendly. I drove by the place one day and looked up their information online. They won me over due to their forthright attitude about their information.
5. Listen on Social Media
The problem for large companies in the wireless industry is that they have people talking about them constantly. From blog posts to social media, there is a constant buzz streaming online. Now you can either have a good stream or a bad one, but you don't get to opt out of online reputation management.
My advice to companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint: give your customers what they want (within reason) and you won’t see the vast amount of customer service complaints online. If you use these tips you can definitely reduce if not eliminate the vast majority of customer complaints against your business.