Ever wondered why your conversion rates are so low even though you spend a good amount of time sharing your latest stories on social media and receiving a good amount of traffic?
While user experience and market fit are crucial for every business, a surprising reason for low conversions could be a misbehaving contact form on your website. Over the past 2 months we have worked with 3 successful businesses online with broken contact forms that prevented prospects from connecting with business development or support staff.
The worst part is that, in many cases, customers would give up on getting in touch with you, and the problem may be lurking in your platform for months.
Here are 7 suggestions for preventing complete dependability on a flaky contact form and increase the conversion rates for your business.
1. Simplify Your Contact Form
Longer contact forms asking for too much personal data would send some of your prospects away. Keeping it simple would save everyone time, and reduce the gap between you and your potential clients.
In addition to the marketing aspect of the problem, longer contact forms present more opportunities for a contact form to stop working. For example:
- a phone field would require validation that wouldn’t match a country code format;
- a text field may accept HTML which isn’t validated properly behind the scenes;
- numeric fields could strip values for customers who input text instead.
A study by Unbounce reported 15% conversion rate on forms with 6+ fields, 20% with 3-5 fields, and 25% for contact forms with only 3 input fields.
Simplify your contact form and reduce the number of lost prospects on the way.
2. Use Gravity Forms
WordPress website owners who heavily rely on contact forms can benefit from using Gravity Forms.
Gravity Forms is a powerful plugin that allows for building complex forms, include conditional statement, integrate with membership platforms and payment gateways. But in addition to that your contact submissions are stored in the WordPress database as well – visible from a list in the administrative dashboard.
Even if your email server is down, not responding, hitting spam filters or anything along those lines, a submission would be processed and ready for review in your WordPress admin area.
As an added benefit, you can leverage the power of the plugin for other uses – such as receiving guest posts for your website (automatically published as drafts to your editors).
3. Stop AJAX Submissions
AJAX submissions are often used in contact forms as they provide a better customer experience – getting a form submitted without refreshing the entire page.
The problem is that AJAX may be interrupted in different cases, such as:
- A PHP notice or warning that interrupts the successful callback and freezes the submission process
- Clients using old unsupported browsers (such as corporate networks running Internet Explorer 7)
Disabling AJAX submissions and sending users to a helpful “Thank You” page can solve some of those problems and increase the success rates of your contact form submissions.
4. Hide Warnings and Notices on Production
Some production websites allow error printing on the front-end even for third-party visitors. Those messages appear in the header or within the content area of your website in the event of a code warning or a communication error with the site.
This may not be obvious to you or your development team when the site appears to be working properly. Sadly, customers could still manage to interact with areas of your website in a “creative way” that triggers and displays errors on the site. And new notices or warnings can show up after updating a plugin or introducing a content change by editors.
That leads to poor customer experience, and is a potential security vector that hackers could use for learning more about your hosting provider and installation, coming up with effective strategies for breaking into your website.
Disabling debugging output on production sites is a must, and should improve the overall user experience. It will also ensure that contact form entries don’t get lost due to those code glitches getting in the way and interrupting the submission process, hence losing your emails on the way.
5. Live Chat
Integrating a live chat in your website is a good way to interact with your visitors in real time, and also let them report a problem easily before closing the browser window.
There are plenty of live chat services that provide a simple embed script (or an extension for various CMS) and pop up on your website given predefined conditions. You can enable the chat globally across your entire site, or only on pages where visitors are expected to get in touch with you (such as the Contact Us page or a Customer Service documentation).
6. Ticketing System
Who handles contact form entries for your business?
If your company employs more than 20 people, chances are that different inquiries are handled by different staff members within your company. Multinational businesses even have different branches and offices, with responsible people for each location.
One creative way to solve that problem is by integrating a ticketing system in a contact form’s disguise. There are plenty of Software as a Service help desks that could be integrated in your website, as well as outstanding plugins for WordPress website owners such as Awesome Support. Similarly to Gravity Forms mentioned above, a ticketing system will also store the contact form submission in a separate database which solves the “disappearing emails” aspect of the problem.
Additionally, a business assistant or a customer support agent of yours can easily reassign tickets to different team members. This can even be done automatically with some software solutions, with a conditional rule assigning a ticket to an agent depending on the selected department or product in your form.
7. IM channels and Social Media
During the third quarter of 2016, Facebook reported 1.79 billion monthly active users. Gen Y communicates primarily through instant messengers and social media, as the majority of college students applying for job expect a phone call instead of an email as they don’t actively use emails for business.
Twitter revolutionized the social interactions with businesses and influencers by providing a transparent and open channel for everyone to connect with corporations and individuals outside of their network, which also increased the importance of the Community Manager position for brands managing their conversations across various online channels.
Providing multiple contact alternatives for website visitors is more time consuming, but the easier it is for a prospect to communicate with you, the higher the possibility for them to become a regular client. Consider providing a phone number, Twitter account and Skype or WhatsApp accounts that visitors may use for contacting you. With the rise of the smartphone industry and low-cost plans with 3G and 4G, consumers often find it easy to communicate through online channels other than email for questions, support, or setting appointments.
Email isn’t going anywhere, but due to technical malfunctions and zealous spam filters, communication may be lost in-between. Make sure that you provide a bulletproof solution for your customers and contact alternatives in order to provide incredible customer experience and close more leads for your business.