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‘Do Not Contact Us’ Forms

April 6th, 2010
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As a reporter, I will contact a company through any means necessary. I prefer using a phone number or an email address for a specific person — but sometimes I’m stuck filling out a ‘contact us’ form.

I’ve filled out more contact forms than I’d like to admit. I really dislike them. About a quarter of them do not work, and I’m never sure if my messages reach my intended audience: the marketing department.

Some common problems I’ve seen:
o Errors after clicking ‘submit’
o Tiny message length limits (such as 200 characters)
o Bounced emails in response
o Claims of ‘improper formatting’

Even worse is after receiving an error, you can lose your entire message. I learned long ago to write messages in a separate program and to copy-and-paste them into forms, in case I need to resubmit.

I’m just a reporter trying to get a marketer on the phone — can you imagine if I was a dissatisfied customer? My frustration level would skyrocket. If I was a potential business lead, I’d likely leave and never return.

‘Contact us’ forms are similar to social media in that they provide a way to receive customer feedback — which is very valuable. Broken ‘contact us’ forms send a clear message: “we don’t care about your feedback. Don’t contact us.”

But I’m sure that’s not true. You must care about your customers’ feedback. Their satisfaction keeps you in business.

So if you have a minute, check your website’s contact forms. Make sure they’re flexible, easy to use, and most importantly, that they work. A small effort can go a long way in preventing customers from walking away for good.

Web-Ad Brokers in Economy’s Crosshairs

November 4th, 2008
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There was an interesting article in a recent print edition of The Wall Street Journal about how there may be tough times ahead for the more than 300 advertising networks on the Web. The online edition of TWSJ is not a freebie, so I will summarize. Read more…

Drive Traffic with Shipping to Stores

October 17th, 2008
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I recently talked with Kevin Ertell, SVP E-Business, Borders, who pointed out some very interesting ways that the retailer is integrating its offline and online channels.

Read more…

Marketers Try ‘Talk TV’ Ads to Drive Traffic

July 12th, 2008
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What I’ll call “Talk TV” seems to be an emerging and sensibly low-risk medium for major brands to drive Web traffic via sports entertainment on the good ol’ tube. Read more…