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- Marketing and Biz Dev
-- Link Development
---- Are you missing on potential link partners?
choster - 8:43 pm on Jun 13, 2003 (gmt 0) E-mail is flexible. Customers can describe their request completely, without being limited by a textarea box whose size has been arbitrarily constrained for design/layout purposes. They're not subjected to a questionnaire when, in their minds, your company is the one which messed up in the first place.
|I say do away with email addresses on websites. |
I say I couldn't disagree with you more.
All of our research has shown that our customers much prefer to use e-mail as opposed to web forms.
E-mail can be composed on one's own time. If I fill out half the form and then realize I need to retrieve my discount code from my work e-mail, or get my account number from the file cabinet at home, or call my niece for her delivery address, I usually can't save it and come back to it later. An e-mail on the other hand can be saved, worked on even when offline, and generally made thorough prior to sending.
Legitimate e-mail will come from a legitimate and presumably working return address. Many times I've had to contend with invalid addresses provided on feedback forms. More than once I've gotten nasty replies because the original sender entered email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, and now Ms. Smith is angry because we're not responding to her message while Mr. Smoth is busy reporting us as a spammer. Oh, and making someone enter it twice is annoying and not quite foolproof-- I tend to cut and paste from the first field to the second without paying much attention.
For that reason, we always provide at least one visible e-mail address along with our telephone number in a very accessible place. Not the entire employee directory. In fact, not any personal accounts. All we provide is a single generic role account (say email@example.com). Yeah, it gets some spam, but the option is there for those who want to e-mail us.
Why would I ever want to make it in the slightest bit inconvenient for potential customers or partners to contact me? We provide a web form, yes, but also the address, the main voice and fax telephone numbers, the mailing address, directions to our building via driving or transit, etc. etc.
Now I realize this thread started out about link swapping and not about customer service, but customers are far more important (for most of us), and making life easy for them implies making it easy for others as well.
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