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  1. #1
    Non-Member phillipturner's Avatar
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    How much Important contact us page

    Hello All,
    I wanted to know that for any website, especially if that is run by a company- Is it necessary to include contact us page? If you have existing one then after replacing it with an pop up(not exactly popup - A small window through which your visitor can fill the information) will affect on its ranking, business etc.
    Reasons: Usually it has been found after going to your contact us page visitor leave your website.
    Any other innovative idea? Please share

  2. #2
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillipturner View Post
    I wanted to know that for any website, especially if that is run by a company- Is it necessary to include contact us page? If you have existing one then after replacing it with an pop up(not exactly popup - A small window through which your visitor can fill the information) will affect on its ranking, business etc.
    Reasons: Usually it has been found after going to your contact us page visitor leave your website.
    Any other innovative idea? Please share
    I think you're getting your cause and effect mixed up. Yes, visitors often leave a website once they've used the contact form, because either (i) their goal was to contact the company, which they have now achieved, or (ii) they were unable to accomplish the goal they had, so they contact the company instead. Either way, their business on the website is complete, at least for the time being.
    (It's like the joke about the boss who complains because the thing that works is always the last thing that you try)

    Having a way for people to contact you is essential if you want to keep any level of trust or reputation, and that should include a physical address and phone number where possible, as well as an email address and/or contact form. Getting rid of the "contact us" page just because it's a common exit page is completely the wrong approach, and will just leave more of your potential customers very frustrated.

  3. #3
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Same. Sometimes, the only purpose for me going to a website is to try to contact them. For instance, I just went to the Adobe website, where I wanted to contact them about some licensing problems. I got the phone number (which was my purpose on the site - or forums, but there wasn't a sales forum), and I left. It's good that they want to contact you. Right?

    Think of it this way: If every one of your customers exits through your "Thank You For Your Purchase" page, does that mean you should cut out the buying process? No! It means that you have accomplished your goal. Just think of it as you having done your job because they got in touch and didn't just bounce w/ no action on the website.

    ~TehYoyo

  4. #4
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    In addition to the good advice from Stevie and TehYoyo, in many countries (including all EU states), there is a legal requirement to include certain information in a business website, and that often includes the contact details. (In the UK, a company must include the address of its registered office, although that's not necessarily the same as its contact address.)

    Mike

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    In addition to what Mikl said above, in the UK any on-line business (company, sole trader or whatever) must provide full contact details, including postal address, if a transaction can be completed on-line, whether sale of goods or services.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl
    there is a legal requirement to include certain information in a business website
    What will happen if I only included a contact form on my site? What legal action would be taken? Sounds a lot like red-tape to me. For receipts it's certainly a requirement. But a website is like an advertising brochure, it's a digital face to your company. I don't feel you'd get in-trouble if you excluded those required fields, and even so, what would they do? *still wondering who they are*

    Understandably my loose morals for authority might conflict with some opinions. As far as I know a contact form can be very basic, without any address information. The disclaimer or privacy policy page is another issue. This needs your company details and address.

    Receipts, invoices etc. need yours and the client's full details.

    In addition to what Mikl said above, in the UK any on-line business (company, sole trader or whatever) must provide full contact details, including postal address, if a transaction can be completed on-line, whether sale of goods or services.
    I am more curious if the website is using PayPal, as this would offer me more security than the contact details on a website.

    In terms of trust. Having your address and contact details there are help people trust your website. Having said that I don't think anybody would shoot you for excluding certain information.

    It's your business after all, and how you chose to run it depends on you. If you don't mind people calling your business then feel free to publish your phone number. If you want a contact form which uses email instead then that would be fine. Paypal phone numbers change, so their contact telephone number is different each time. I think they do this to stop abuse of their systems. You can't call them without being registered. Another classic example of limiting phone number access is eBay. They require you to open a dispute. Both are really big, and I don't suppose they have any legal issues because of this. I think Google Inc. goes in the same lines. It's a method of weeding out any unwanted calls.
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  7. #7
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    Sega,

    You've raised some interesting points. But you need to distinguish between what's legally required and what's good business practice. A contact form might well be an adequate way for customers to contact you, but if the law in your country says you need to provide your business address, then providing a contact form on its own won't meet that requirement.

    You refer to red tape. These rules don't exist just to keep some bureaucrats happy. They are there to protect the consumer. In particular, there needs to be a way for the customer to take legal action against a company in a last resort, and you can't do that if you don't know who you're dealing with.

    Regarding sites using PayPal: that's not really relevant. PayPal is just another means of moving money. It's got nothing to do with the requirements we are discussing here.

    Regarding eBay. I haven't checked, but I'll bet that the various versions of their sites that operate in the EU all have the company information that is required by law (but you might have to hunt hard to find it).

    Finally, you say "It's your business after all, and how you chose to run it depends on you.". Well, yes ..... but not completely. It also depends on the legal requirements in the countries where you operate.

    You might well not want to publish your phone number for fear of being plagued by nuisance calls. That's a valid opinion. But you've got to remember that, first and foremost, you're in business to serve the customer. If the customer expects to be able to phone you, you've really got to make it easy for them to do so. If doing so is inconvenient to you, that's your problem, not the customers.

    Mike

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    Hi @Mikl ;

    I agree with you whole heartidly. I use to live in the UK so I know the system fairly well.

    They are there to protect the consumer. In particular, there needs to be a way for the customer to take legal action against a company in a last resort, and you can't do that if you don't know who you're dealing with.
    Sounds good *puzzled*. There are contracts and agreements, upon receipt they will have your complete details, as well as your VAT no, company registration number and your full address. So this would be sufficient for a client to take legal action against you.

    But you need to distinguish between what's legally required and what's good business practice.
    Good business practice is keeping your existing customers happy and your business profitably. Existing clients can call on emergencies, prospective and existing clients send emails on other occations. I tend to get calls from people I know, rather than inquiries from unknowns. eBay don't publicly provide their phone number, and neither do PayPal, so what troubles to they run into because of this, if any?

    The UK legal system is a little laughable. A country which has so many rules still has one of the highest violations of personal information being sold on a day-to-day basis. When we were over in the UK we had 5 cold calls per day, even after we registered on the no-cold-callers list, some of those cold callers got aggressive and pushy. I think this says it all. There are so many people fishing for information (to screw you over) that you can just do without.

    Regarding eBay. I haven't checked, but I'll bet that the various versions of their sites that operate in the EU all have the company information that is required by law (but you might have to hunt hard to find it).
    Maybe they have the same problem as I described. The only way I know of to call eBay, which I have in the past, is to open a dispute on a seller using eBay disputes and wait for the seller to respond. If not resolved or responded you can flag it further where they will give you a telephone number to call them considering that request. The eBay account I had was within the UK, so it abides by UK law. They still do not give out a contact number on their website.

    Finally, you say "It's your business after all, and how you chose to run it depends on you.". Well, yes ..... but not completely. It also depends on the legal requirements in the countries where you operate.
    Legal requirements are defined in contracts. I really don't think the internet police would arrest you for not publicly supplying a telephone number on your site. It's not a crime, and to even say it is would just run into the category of scare mongery. Imagine having a business would did not have a phone number, which only worked online. Would you simply supply a phone number nobody answered just to abide by the law.

    But you've got to remember that, first and foremost, you're in business to serve the customer.
    Agreed. There are more than one form of communication. I remember when I worked for as an employee for a web design company in the past. We got told only to communicate with emails and avoid calls from problematic clients, as they were scared of being sued. Everything had to be in writing, and email was the preferred choice of communication by the company.

    There are times when situations become sticky and when you end up with so many nuisance calls that you fail the see the benefit of profiting a phone number on your website.

    Take my comments with a pinch of salt. I know I've raised many opposing views, so it's likely to be challenged.

    Hope this helps.

    Edit: There are some requirements found here, http://www.seqlegal.com/blog/website...c-requirements, which you can see. These can be displayed on the privacy page. Nothing is mention about telephone numbers. I know you did not specifically mention telephone number, but it's something I needed to be made clear. I actually saw legal advice about this (just in-case) and they clarified it for me.
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    @phillipturner ;

    There is no legal requirement to have a contact page as all. If it's this you're scared of then you can do without. If you are using WordPress take a look at this, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/...e/screenshots/. The legal requirements can be supplied in your privacy policy page.

    I would be interested to know what people think.
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  10. #10
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    There is no legal requirement in the UK to display a telephone contact number on a web site, or even to have a telephone for business purposes.

    All I would say is that, while having the required contact information in your Terms & Conditions or elsewhere in the small print is acceptable, I can't see any good reason not to put it in a contact page where anybody wanting it can easily find it. Otherwise, it may tend to give the impression that you're trying to hide.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillipturner View Post
    I wanted to know that for any website, especially if that is run by a company- Is it necessary to include contact us page?
    In the sense that you want your site to reflect best practices and provide good customer service, the answer is "yes." No caveats. Legal requirements shouldn't even enter into the discussion, as your site should go over and above such requirements. Now, if you're talking about someone's vanity page celebrating the life and adventures of their mighty Shih Tzu, you could make a better argument against the need for contact info

  12. #12
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    Sega,

    I'll just pick up one of your points for now:

    I really don't think the internet police would arrest you for not publicly supplying a telephone number on your site.
    Where the law requires you to show your contact details, you are usually required to show your company's name address. There is never a legal obligation to show a phone number.

    When I set up the first website for my business, I thought long and hard about whether to show my phone number. Being a one-person business, I didn't want to be plagued by nuisance calls. But I decided the needs of my customers came first, so I went ahead and put the number on the site.

    That was about ten years ago. I know now it was the right decision. I do get my share of cold sales calls, but I've also had calls from new and prospective clients which I might not have had otherwise. Although I encourage people to make contact by email, the fact is that some prefer to talk through their problem on the phone, and some simply do not know how to express themselves in an email. These people are still valuable customers, and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to contact me.

    Mike

  13. #13
    SitePoint Member calflowers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    I think you're getting your cause and effect mixed up. Yes, visitors often leave a website once they've used the contact form, because either (i) their goal was to contact the company, which they have now achieved, or (ii) they were unable to accomplish the goal they had, so they contact the company instead. Either way, their business on the website is complete, at least for the time being.
    (It's like the joke about the boss who complains because the thing that works is always the last thing that you try)

    Having a way for people to contact you is essential if you want to keep any level of trust or reputation, and that should include a physical address and phone number where possible, as well as an email address and/or contact form. Getting rid of the "contact us" page just because it's a common exit page is completely the wrong approach, and will just leave more of your potential customers very frustrated.
    Yes, I definitely agree. If you don't include a contact page then your effort in making the site is useless if your aim is to get customers. It's a pattern actually, when customers open a certain business site, the first thing that they will do is read the service etc. then last part would be the contact info if the firm.

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    @Mikl ;

    A very valid point. You're right.

    In the future I will have online chat feature, and a voice chat feature. In terms of displaying a telephone number, I'd have to think long and hard about that one too. I did do call baring on withheld numbers, and so far so good. I will go further and register on the no cold callers list, which would help. From here on out I will probably publish the number, and depending on my experiences, would depends on whether I keep the number published or not.
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    Wouldnt the basic point of a website ( other than ecommerce) be to contact. Even in in ecommerce, it looks really fishy if there is no way to get in touch with the company.

    Now. If what you are saying is should this be an entire page dedicated to this or simply a link.. then it kinda goes like this:

    1) How many ways do you ACTUALLY HAVE for users to get in touch. ( you may not have a dedicated phone line or fax, maybe your home is your office and don't want people just dropping by... that sort of thing)
    2) How important is it for you to KNOW who is email you? Also there are people who cannot "just shoot an email" .. so a contact us form is used. In a sense allows the user to email you even away from his own computer, for example.
    3) At this point if you are ALL SET UP in a brick ad mortar office , with a real storefront .. dedicated lines .. staff.. why not include that in the same page for those who are intimidated about serving info over the web?

  16. #16
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    @Mikl ;

    A very valid point. You're right.

    In the future I will have online chat feature, and a voice chat feature. In terms of displaying a telephone number, I'd have to think long and hard about that one too. I did do call baring on withheld numbers, and so far so good. I will go further and register on the no cold callers list, which would help. From here on out I will probably publish the number, and depending on my experiences, would depends on whether I keep the number published or not.
    I don't know if I like these fake "Live chat!" things I see on websites. It seems very unprofessional to me. Unless, that is, that the people at your office are willing to live chat - it's somewhat easy to carry on 3 or so conversations at once, and I can't imagine your businesses (no offense ) getting more than 3 live chat requests at once.

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    I agree with TehYoyo about live chat. There's no way I could deal with that in my own business without employing staff specifically to support it.

    Regarding cold calls: I said earlier that I do get my share of them. But, on reflection, I doubt any of them come about because of the phone number on my site. The majority are probably companies that purchase lists of telephone numbers. I don't know where the lists come from, but I don't suppose it's from scraping random websites. That wouldn't be very efficient.

    Mike

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    @TehYoyo ;

    I won't get more than 3-chat sessions. It won't be fake, you can connect this to your skype and message back to them. I am only pretty much all the time, so that won't be an issue. I have to take a long hard look before implementing something like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl
    I don't know where the lists come from, but I don't suppose it's from scraping random websites.
    Mainly directories.

    I can't imagine your businesses (no offense) getting more than 3 live chat requests at once.
    Neither could I, imagine that, you'd definitely need a full time employee.
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    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Yeah. If you answer the chats yourself, I think that's a great idea. As a consumer, I'd love it if I could talk to a member of that company over chat and know that it's actually them.

    ~TehYoyo

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    Quote Originally Posted by TehYoyo
    Yeah. If you answer the chats yourself, I think that's a great idea. As a consumer, I'd love it if I could talk to a member of that company over chat and know that it's actually them.
    I understand what you're saying. There was a lot of companies outsourcing to India for support, no disrespect to the Indians, sucked most of the time. Support should always be done by somebody who is native in the language they are supporting in. I am native in English, so this would be fine. Language barriers and so forth are terrible when wanting support.
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    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    I understand what you're saying. There was a lot of companies outsourcing to India for support, no disrespect to the Indians, sucked most of the time. Support should always be done by somebody who is native in the language they are supporting in. I am native in English, so this would be fine. Language barriers and so forth are terrible when wanting support.
    I recently had that experience w/ Western Digital support - ran into a few language problems, but it turned out OK (well, I hope so - I haven't received my product, but it was only 3 days ago or so). My problem isn't that there may be language barriers - after all, it is chat so people have time to think about it. My problem is that there might be some errors in communication. Who better to talk about your company than you - the owner/partner himself? (I mean, I assume that you're a partner. Or maybe you're an employee.) If I were to call up Sitepoint, I'd want someone who works at Sitepoint and knows what he/she is talking about to respond.

    ~TehYoyo

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    @TehYoyo ;

    This solely depends on how the company operate and how knowledgeable they are. I know employees who know their stuff. On the other hand if you don't pick or treat your employees properly, you'll end up having a big churn on staff, meaning there is always fresh blood. This might have it's advantages (i.e. keeping salaries low), but in the long run your business would find problems as nobody really have enough experience to know how things operate.

    I remember back in the day when I use to work in a corporate environment, and we got 3-new employees to replace an entire department. The amount of unhappy customers was unspeakable.

    Another key note is training. I recently spoke to a friend who still codes in xHTML Loose. Even though many feel here that HTML5 is not as good as xHTML, we still have to embrace these new technologies as things change all the time.

    The LIVE chat can be done by anybody who has the proper training to do so, then again who better than yourself ^_^
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    I want to share a little thing share with you that contact us page is very important in our website if we don't create this page then we will suffer a lots of things if any user like your services, products how to come on it. then you get that is great loss ,if we create contact us page user easily come to know about service changes, events, important phone numbers and more. and your business will get promote
    Last edited by Stevie D; Apr 18, 2012 at 05:14. Reason: Fake signature deleted

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    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    I think what I meant to say was just not to outsource it. If you're not going to answer it w/ a knowledgeable employee, then don't do it at all.

    ~TehYoyo

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    Some companies are realizing that outsourcing doesn't allow them the kind of quality control that they would desire. It is a fine line to walk especially considering how some businesses are trying to cut labor costs. But, overall I think that most mid sized companies that still appreciate their client base understand that a native speaker who works for the actual company is a far greater asset than a few dollars saved on outsourcing.
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