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Give your customers a voice

Frustrated shoppers will look elsewhere if your site doesn’t make it easy for them to communicate with you.

Imagine going into a store with no shop assistants. No one to answer your query or give you information on the product you’re thinking about buying. The best they can offer is that you write down a query and they’ll get back to you in a few days time. Would you still shop in such a place?

Probably not. However, this state of affairs still exists at many etailers. Providing contact details not only increases customer confidence in the authenticity of a website but also encourages a feeling of customer satisfaction – even if a customer doesn’t have a query, they will feel assured that it’s an option if required.

So which etailers make it easy to contact them? The recently relaunched does not place its “Contact us” link prominently on the site but as web shoppers are generally aware by now that they can usually find it at the bottom of a page, Marks & Spencer can be forgiven for having placed it here. The link leads to a page which offers a number of useful options including FAQ, an email contact and various telephone contact options.

To provide instant customer satisfaction a telephone number should always be provided. While email is a useful method of contact, offering both options can have a real impact on sales. It also provides shoppers with a point of contact should they experience any problems.

It also assures customers that the site is not a fake or a scam, and displaying a full postal address, as well as email and telephone details, can further reiterate this point. A PO box address will arouse instant suspicion.

Young fashion brand Diesel has a confusing contact process. Its site has no link titled “Contact us” but instead has a “Store locator” link which displays store phone numbers. While this does engender trust in the legitimacy of the site, it’s not good for customers with queries regarding the site rather than a store.

Young fashion retailer Miss Selfridge has no phone contacts on its “Contact us” page. Instead, it offers a long online form to complete, which could hit sales. After all, the Miss Selfridge customer is a young, busy and experienced online shopper who will quickly look elsewhere if a prompt response is not forthcoming.

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