The personal touch

Paul Boag

Computers can seem very impersonal at times so it is important to do everything possible to make your website seem more friendly and approachable.

Computers are not the friendliest of machines. They always seem to take what you so literally and never come across as very helpful! This can make the internet seem quite an impersonal place at times. It also doesn’t help when you are trying to encourage a user to purchase your product or service. Many seem to be taking the approach of developing sophisticated software that appears more human however I believe that at the end of the day nothing beats the personal touch. This article identifies a few ways that you can make your website seem less foreboding and more approachable. The result will hopefully be an increase in sales:

Writing style

The way your copy reads has a huge effect on how people perceive your website and therefore your company. Copy should be friendly and approachable without being overly familiar. Avoid the hard sell or the use of corporate mumbo jumbo. Be succinct, direct and friendly. For more information on writing for the web click here .

Phone

Always have your phone number prominently placed on your website. Preferably make it a free phone number in order to demonstrate that the users call is important to you. Make sure the phone is manned when you said it would be and is always answered promptly and professionally. A website without a telephone number gives the impression that the user’s queries are an inconvenience that should be avoided. By placing the phone number prominently on every page you are communicating a desire to help with any problems a user might be facing.

Email

I am constantly amazed at how many websites fail to have their email address available to their users. Often you find it buried deep within the site and then it is an address such as [email protected] . This leaves me wondering if I should be writing to this address. Make sure your email address is always visible and that it is something obviously like [email protected] . You may already have an enquiries form on your website but that is not always the most convenient approach for a user who is paying to access the internet by the minute. You should always offer an email address as well as a form. When you do receive enquiries via email be sure to answer them quickly. This means that you must check your email regularly and then respond immediately. Remember while they are waiting for your reply they are checking out your competition! Although it is possible to set up auto responders which send an automated response to any emails you receive this doesn’t replace the human touch.

Live Chat

Live chat is a relatively new approach to dealing with customer enquiries and is offered by a number of companies. Basically it allows the user to request a chat session with a member of your customer services. A small chat window opens and the two parties are connected. However on top of that it also allows you to monitor users moving around your site in real time and offer them the opportunity to chat if they appear to be having difficulty. What really sets this approach apart is that it is more instant than email but more anonymous than the phone. Users can ask their questions but easily walk away at anytime if they become uncomfortable.

For more information on live chat check out:

Live Person

Human Face

I went to a website recently that handled enquiries beautifully. I clicked on an enquiries link which took me to a page that not only provided an email address and phone number but also the name and photograph of the person I would be speaking to. This really made me feel like I was going to talk to a real human being in preference to a faceless corporation. It totally changed my attitude to the call.

Boagworks

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