Now, before I proceed too far into this subject matter, I will preface this with, I am not an expert in this area at all. In fact, we are just undertaking the redevelopment of our own website at present (watch this space) and have been guilty of issues I am about to mention also. That said, the obvious but perhaps not easy question is ……….what do you hope to achieve from your website?
Interestingly, there remains many professionals, accountants, lawyers and the like, that don’t currently even have a website. Admittedly, these are probably older practitioners and/or perhaps those with smaller firms. There are others who have quite basic and perhaps dated website. Then there are those with newer flash websites.
As the experts tell me, websites are now way more than simply a way for clients and potential clients to find your contact details. Websites are beyond the basic catalogue of services and the like. They are the way of the future and a means of engaging with clients. Let’s face it, if we are searching for a particular service, what is the first thing we so often do? Jump on google and search. Before contacting a potential service provider, what do we do? We search for their website. What we see and learn from websites will often dictate whether we endeavour to contact the provider further with an enquiry.
Deciding to make contact and enquire, most websites have either an e-mail address or a specific enquiry box. So, you e-mail away your enquiry and eagerly await a reply. Recently, for both personal and work purposes, I have made various enquiries via websites to receive no reply. Nothing, so I try again, and still nothing. On occasion I have then called the provider to be told they never received my enquiry. Great, I think, if this is the quality of their website, what’s the rest of their service like I think to myself. On other occasions, I have presumed that the provider simply doesn’t want my business. Either way, it is a massive fail. If websites are part of our marketing and communication program with clients or potential clients, a means of driving and generating business, then we need to make sure that the simplest of communication approaches, the simple e-mail address or enquiry box is valid and will be received by the appropriate parties within your business.
One trick we have learnt is our enquiries were being sent to the webmaster at the time, who would then forward them onto us. However, when we changed web providers, this enquiry form wasn’t redirected to us and enquiries stopped being forward. So the tip is to always have such enquiries directed to a key person within the business that will receive them and respond in a timely manner.