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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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Communication breeds communication

I was struck by the results of a recent project, which showed 25% of customers felt the need to phone or email as a direct result of an enquiry sought via the web.

For a long time, I have always believed and stated that communication will always breed more communication. We humans tend to be social animals after all. And providing any information about anything tends to engage the reader and can lead to more questions. In fact, ‘engagement’ is often a measure of success for marketing (why then in customer service, do we so often seek to ‘disengage’ by reducing contact?)

Effective websites should help customers answer their queries; thereby reducing the need for them to ring or email. And indeed it is true to say that some sites will be more effective than others at achieving this. But how many sites make it difficult to find a telephone number or email address? How many seem designed to be a ‘replacement’ for phone or email contact?

In the project analysis, only 58% found the answer to their initial question and admittedly, the better the website, the higher this rate will be. But even amongst those that did find the answer, 10% felt the need to contact the company through telephone or email. Amongst those that only found part of the answer, nearly 50% felt the need to contact, but by this time, their satisfaction had plummeted through frustration and annoyance.

Opening up new channels of communication is likely to breed more contact in total. It also makes it more critical for seamless integration and excellent customer experience – as frustration and annoyance can rise fast.

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