People getting in touch with us through our website by email (or a form) can be doing so for a number of reasons, and these may require different members of staff to handle the enquiry, depending on its subject. What’s the best way to handle these?
The manual approach is to have the enquiries coming in to a central administrator, who distributes them appropriately. The advantage here is that if the enquiry is urgent and the relevant member of staff to answer it is away, the administrator will be able to re-route the enquiry. The disadvantage is that the administrator needs to be on the ball – and present. The system can fall to bits if nobody’s covering the role well.
The more automated approach is to have a simple drop-down question on the ‘contact us’ page asking the nature of the enquiry, so it can be directed to the appropriate person or department without manual intervention. Nobody minds this extra question. In terms of advantages/disadvantages, apart from the reverse of the above, it also means the next step on the contact form can be tailored appropriately. For example, if the enquiry is: “Can somebody telephone me?” or “Can somebody email me something?”, then only the relevant contact details need be requested.
In addition, a number of businesses now take the opportunity to humanise the interaction, showing you names and even photos of the people who may be replying. I really like that.
Finally, it’s a great tip to also give the company’s full contact details, clearly, on any contact form, so enquirers always feel they have the option of getting in touch in other ways, if preferred. That means email address, telephone number and mailing address. Why include the latter? It reminds people we’re a real business with a real location, and where we are.