What if you were required to fill out an online form if wanted the phone number or address of an enterprise with whom you wanted to do business? Let’s say you were driving to a meeting at their location and you needed to contact someone to let them know you were unavoidably detained. You would have to pull over on the side of the road, fill out the online form, wait for a response, making you even later. Sound ludicrous? And, you probably already figured this blog is not about phone and mail access. It is about email access.
I continue to be amazed at the number of business that brag about their customer-centricity but make an email address impossible to find on their website. If you want to communicate you are required to fill out an online form. I know some smart marketing person offered the website form as the gate so that names and contact information could be captured. Their message is clear: our marketing needs trump your needs for access.
There is another argument for keeping email addresses super top secret. If we let the world know our email address, we will be inundated with unwanted emails. Really? Does the fact that your telephone number is on your website yield hundreds of daily crank calls? Does the fact that your corporate address is on your website result in truckloads of junk mail? Are you putting up a gate that is actually unnecessary?
Once upon a time spammers used bots to grab email addresses from websites for their spam software. But today professional spammers have gotten savvy bots that can liter your contact form or hitchhike on a blog comment. So, using a contact form is like a gate with no key.
Customer accessibility should be simple, easy and with many channels. Sure, there are a few misguided souls who might abuse the access. And, you could still provide an online form for website visitors to complete should they would like to be on your mailing list. We live in an era of effortless. Customer communication is your pipeline to success. Open the gates and let your customers and prospects come in.