Opinion: Does a human respond to your website contact requests?

Awesome image by JC Gellidon

Most websites that I visit have a link at the bottom of the page that suggests that you can use it to contact either the website team or the company that owns the site. (Might not be the same people) Based on years of trying, my expectation of ever getting a response from using one of these links is close to zero.

If you have a website that has a contact link, does it lead anywhere sensible?

Does it have a contact form that sends the request to an email address that no human ever monitors?

I see two common issues: the website creator bit bucket, and the sales-proof company.

Website Creator Bit Bucket

This is one of my least favourite issues. Countless websites have flaws that stop you interacting with them. Often, the team that designed the site might have included a link for letting them know if you have a technical issue with the site.

So often, the team that built the site has moved on, perhaps aren't even associated with the company any more, and the output of the contact form might as well go straight in the bin. No-one is ever going to see it.

Sales-Proof Company

This is the worst of the two, and it's especially important in the current pandemic-related situation. I'll give you an example.

There's a tech company in Melbourne that I've loved to deal with in the past. Their people are knowledgeable and friendly and are just pleasant to deal with.

So when I wanted to buy another high-end NVMe drive the other day, they were the first people I checked. Their site said they had them in stock, the price was fine, and I decided to buy one from them. However, their online order entry application would not allow me to enter the correct billing address for my credit card, based on silly rules. (I'll write more about that another day).

Bottom line is that I couldn't complete the order. If that's happened in the past, I've called them, and they've processed it over the phone. But with COVID-19 happening, they haven't managed to get a good system to divert calls to their own sales people working from home. So they just have a note saying their phones are temporarily not being answered. (Mistake #1)

I had no choice but to use their "Sales Enquiry" contact form.

The Wait

I waited, and waited and heard nothing. (Mistake #2)

After two days, I ordered the drive from another supplier, and it arrived quickly.

Nearly three weeks after I filled in their contact form, the first company did send me an email to check if I still needed help. But that was way, way too late.

But they did respond

On the positive side, they did at least contact me. I've read reports that say that up to 80 percent of online sales enquiry forms are never responded to at all.

Don't be one of these companies!


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