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Real people at the other end of the line

I spent a couple of hours recently making a simple one-page website for a bed and mattress shop* where my nephew is a partner. They got some nice feedback from customers over the next few days, but the salutary lesson for me (and them) was the comment from one shop visitor that “We saw you on your website, and it’s nice to see the guy in the shop before you visit”. Interestingly, putting such a photo on the site, prominently, was the only aspect of the proposed website that the folks at the shop had queried, but I’d convinced them to try it. Subsequently getting unsolicited approval from customers was a real result. Who doesn’t love being right?

Even on business to business websites, showing that you’ve got real people at the other end of the line, or ready to visit, can only be a good thing. Take this as a good example: the company wants people to call them straight away, and they believe (correctly) that it will encourage the call if they highlight that (a) there’s a direct line to the person they need to deal with, and (b) that person looks like they know what they’re talking about. This isn’t going to be a 30-second call to book a restaurant table; this will be a lengthy call to discuss a multi-thousand-pound order for technical equipment to perform a critical function. A simple number at the top of the page wouldn’t be particularly appealing, and nor would a half-hearted effort of slapping on a “call us now!” label next to a stock photo of someone who looks like a student on a work placement, sitting in a call centre wearing a headset.

Perhaps even better than staff photos is something I’ve seen a few times recently, and that’s ‘video introductions’. I love this idea. Before people make the call, they can actually see and listen to the sales or technical support person describing the sort of calls they get, in a short video clip. That would make me more likely to call – wouldn’t it you?

*See what I did there? (*grins*)