My website is giving me too many online leads! Not a problem if you have an e-commerce business where customers buy direct and fulfillment happens with no interaction. But what if you have a service business that requires phone calls or quotes to build relationships or close the sale?
This is the problem recently raised by a local business owner after upgrading his website. Within a few months, the number of calls and emails exploded. That’s the good news. But they were not responding to them in a timely manner. That’s the bad news. In the short-term, this hurts your sales conversion rate. In the long-term, it may damage your reputation for dependability and responsiveness.
How To Avoid Disappointing Customers
First, remember that your business systems need to change as your business grows. If you expect growth from a new or improved strategy (and you should), keep this in mind and prepare for it. In his case, the procedure for handling online leads worked when they trickled in, but did not when the volume more than quadrupled.
Next, use technology, anticipate issues and simplify what you do. Here’ are a few things we did to demonstrate this point:
Avoid vague contact forms. You need their name, phone number, and email address. Most website contact forms use a comment box to gather more information. They often leave you wondering what action the prospect wants you to take. Do they want you to call or email the information? Add a ‘How can we help you’ section and list the specific options.
Screen leads. Add one or two specific questions to your contact form to help you screen and prioritize. Make them simple and don’t over-do it. Those that are truly seeking your service will typically take the time to answer them; tire kickers may not.
Make quote process efficient. If someone wants a quote, take them to a separate form and gather most (or all) of the relevant information. Having information before you call makes it more productive. So you can spend time asking great questions – the kind that can help you convert prospects to customers down the road!
Make auto-responders count. Most websites have a default confirmation message that goes out when people send a contact form email. Customize yours to begin educating customers on the benefits you provide, why you are unique, and expectations on return calls. Remember, this is the first direct communication from you. Make it count.
Use templates. What are the top 5-7 requests, questions or issues you receive via your contact forms? Develop email responses that address them and use them consistently. Whether you use an auto-responder software program or manually cut and paste, they will save you time and customers will receive consistent concise information.
Publish FAQ on your website. These provide a simple, easy way to answer common questions prospects have about your products or services in a well-thought-out way. They can help reduce non-essential emails or calls leaving you more time to focus on the important ones. Most businesses have some of these for customer service reps or receptionists to use. Clean them up and put them on your website.
Bonus From Publishing FAQ’s
Here is a bonus you get when you publish frequently asked questions. It gives you the chance to include questions you WISH customers would ask, but often don’t because they don’t know they should. I’m sure you have a few in mind! Use them to reinforce your uniqueness, value, and benefits. In a question and answer format, they sound less promotional! Take advantage of it.
If you are struggling to convert online leads – whether you get a lot or a little – take a look at the entire process. Is it efficient and effective? Does it save you time and money? Is it convenient and responsive to prospects? Then get to work and make some changes.
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