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Getting prospects the answers they need (1)

There are many methods in which prospects can get their questions answered, and if they’re not offered the one they prefer, it’s quite possible that they will move elsewhere. It would be criminal to lose someone who’s that close to contacting you, so have you got every channel covered?

The fastest way to get prospects the answer they want is for them not to have to contact you in the first place. A good ‘FAQ’ page is what you need here. Make sure yours is thoroughly integrated with any contact details page though. Link to the FAQ page at the start of your contact details page, as something they might like to try first. And link to the contact details page at the end of the FAQ page, as the next step if their question wasn’t answered.

If the FAQ page delivers, it has the advantage that prospects have their questions answered before they get the chance to go and investigate other suppliers while waiting for a reply. Two other methods can also (usually) provide instant answers: telephone and live web-chat. For both of these, you need to ensure the right people are permanently available on the other end.

With a telephone call, do you just give a number, or do you guide people who to contact? For example, if they’re going to be calling a general company telephone number, does your website give them the extension number for technical or sales support? The minimum should be “Call us on… and ask for our technical (or sales) support team”? Encourage people to call by making the process as undaunting as possible.

Live web-chat is getting very popular with prospects and suppliers. If you’ve not looked into it, you really should. Again, you need to resource someone at your end as much as you do for answering telephones.

No prospect expects you to provide telephone or live web-chat response out of hours, but if they do get in touch then, giving them the chance to leave their details and get a call back is a sensible strategy which many businesses overlook. Expecting prospects to take the initiative and contact you again at a later date is a very dangerous strategy.

There are also two non-immediate methods for prospects to contact you: email and social media. I’ll move on to these in the next article.