Here at Deckard & Company, we work with a lot of small businesses to create efficient, manageable websites with hyper-competitive SEO, user-friendly interfaces and an overall web presence that attracts customers while communicating a sense of relationship-based business service. After all, relationships are at the heart of small businesses—even when you’re communicating via the internet.
Small businesses offer their clientele a sort of “professional agility,” whereby they can respond quickly and efficiently while offering personalized solutions for virtually every individual client. A small-business website should be an extension of that agility: a tool for your clients to get what they need, and quickly, whether they want to order a product, answer a question, or speak to someone at the company ASAP.
A small-business owner should be easily reachable by phone or email.
Think about the way you would most prefer to be contacted and communicate it clearly on the website—including what clients can expect when they reach out.
- If you just leave a phone number on your site, make sure that someone will be there to answer.
- If you can’t always answer your phone, say so on your site, along with an expected response time: “Please leave us a voicemail at (555) 555-5555, and someone will return your call within 24 hours.”
- Feel free to use your mobile number with instructions to text (while bearing in mind that some older customers may prefer more traditional communication methods). Text messages should be replied to ASAP, though the response can be brief: “Thank you for reaching out! Do you have time to speak later this afternoon?”
- If you leave an email address on your site, be sure that you have an established system for checking that account and responding promptly. Generic addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org” are missing that vital human element. Let the website visitors know who they’re emailing: “Contact customer service manager Donna at DonnatellaM@excellentarboriums.com.” If possible, let them contact the business owner directly—but only if you are dedicated to prompt replies.
- Like generic email addresses, “Contact Us” forms can be effective but are also intimidating. Customers will worry that filling out a form is a more impersonal method of communication, and they may feel as though they’re just being filed away instead of being heard. If you do use a form, make sure it includes a field for the client's email address, and then set up an automated response that the customers will receive via email within moments of completing the form. That way, they’ll know you’re listening.