Your website is the cornerstone of your business’ online presence. It’s where 76% of potential customers go before even thinking of visiting a physical store. Consequently, integrating communication channels into your website is crucial.
Good communication is a deciding factor for customer satisfaction. It creates trust, boosts continued engagement, and helps you provide effective solutions if any of your customers face issues with your products or services.
But how do you optimize your website for customer communication? Which channels do you need to integrate? And where should you put your priorities?
Get Your Website Structure Right
To start with, you need to structure your website to match customers’ expectations, and make it easy to navigate.
You want your website to stand out from your competitors. So going for an avant-garde appearance can be tempting.
Resist that impulse. Most people today expect a menu with certain standard options on business websites. When they don’t find them immediately, they’re not impressed. Instead of taking the trouble of looking for them, they’ll leave. And not come back.
Make sure that your website has a solid homepage, product and pricing pages, and, crucially, a contact page. Other pages – such as a blog or a page introducing your team or your company history – are optional.
All these pages should be easy to find in your main menu. If someone wants to reach out, they should be able to Google your brand, visit your website, and immediately go to your contact page. The entire operation shouldn’t take more than five seconds.
And talking about time …
Optimize Visitors’ Navigation Experience
The next essential step in turning your website into a communications hub is to improve your visitor experience. This specifically relates to loading times, interactive elements, and responsiveness.
No matter how many communication channels you integrate into your websites, if customers have a difficult time navigating it, nobody will reach out. That means you first need to make sure that it loads quickly and correctly on both mobile and desktop.
To increase your website’s loading speed, make sure you pick the right host and use caching plugins. Enabling lazy load, optimizing your images, and minimizing redirects are also great options to make sure your site is lightning-fast.
Investing the time in increasing page speeds is well worth it – in fact, there’s a direct correlation with conversion rates. 70% of people say that they’re less willing to trust websites that load slowly.
As for responsiveness, 58% of traffic now comes from mobile devices. That means that more than half of people going to your website and wanting to contact you will be on a phone or tablet. If your website doesn’t display right on those devices, you lose.
Add a Contact Form
Once you’ve got the right website structure down and ensured a fantastic navigation experience, you can move on to actually integrating communication channels into your site.
First, you need to add a contact form to your site. This has several major advantages over simply listing your email address.
For one thing, contact form plugins allow you to filter out spam. By adding a simple captcha verification step, you can avoid tons of emails sent by bots. Sifting through these in your inbox is not just a pain in the side. It also means you’re much more likely to miss important mails from actual customers.
In addition, contact forms allow you to pre-sort emails according to topic, and to send an auto-response ensuring the sender that you’ll get back to them asap.
Plus, advanced contact form plugins also offer options such as directly scheduling calls with team members, for example for onboarding or sales calls or to get a demo of your product or service.
Integrate Your Business Phone Service
Next up, you need to integrate your business phone service into your site.
Despite the massive range of communication channels available in 2023, plain phone calls remain among the most popular for customers reaching out to businesses.
Adding your business phone number to your site can be as easy as installing a click-to-call button. This does exactly what it says on the tin. All a customer has to do is click to reach out and get one of your team members on the line.
However, modern business phone services are mostly cloud-based, and often offer native plugins for WordPress. These come with a far greater range of options, including voice and video calls, scheduling, and even direct messaging.
Consider a Chatbot and Live Chat Option
Talking about messaging, you should also consider adding a chatbot and a live chat option to your site.
Live chat is a popular communication channel, especially among younger consumers. Millennials and Gen Z are sometimes averse to calls and expect responses faster than an email ticketing system can give them. Plus, they are used to instant, text-based exchanges.
Adding a chatbot is something you might want to consider if you find that you get a lot of routine queries, such as scheduling requests or questions about shipping updates. However, you need to be careful about the implementation. In a recent survey, 53% of people said they find chatbots annoying, especially if they pop up automatically.
When done right, though, these bots can be an excellent way of lightening the load on your team members and making sure they only need to handle truly complex queries.
Link to Social Media
Finally, there is social media. Links to your social media account should be a standard feature in the header or footer of your website. Not just on the contact page.
In 2023, social media is one of the main communication channels between customers and businesses. Your website should make it easy for anyone to find and follow your profiles.
That way, you can stay on people’s radar, even if they just came across your website by accident. Ultimately, this will help you convert them into loyal customers.
Your website is the basis of your business’ online presence. As such, it needs to be a highway of communication that makes it easy for (potential) customers to get in touch.
Making sure that your website has an intuitive structure, loads fast, and is easy to navigate on mobile and desktop is an essential first step. Once you’ve ticked this box, you can integrate contact forms, voice and video calls, live chat, and chatbots. And, of course, links to all your social profiles.
That way, no matter who wants to reach out to your business, you’ll be able to ensure that they can do so with a minimum of effort.