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Your First Point of Contact

I remember the email clearly. Hit me like a ton of bricks. “Why aren’t you open later for the holidays?”

We were open later for the holidays. It just didn’t say so on our Google profile. Nor did it say so on Facebook. Nor did it say so on our own web page.

I had changed the sign on the door and the answering machine. Fifteen years ago that would have been enough. Today that’s the kiss of death.

If your website, Google Profile, and Facebook Pages aren’t all up-to-date with accurate information, you’re killing sales before they even happen.

It isn’t a generational thing, either. I’m 52 and I use Google Maps on my phone to check a store’s hours all the time. I use it to find their web page, too.

If your web page isn’t optimized for mobile, not only will Google bury you in the SEO game, these old eyes won’t even bother to look around. Unless I’ve already decided I want to visit you, I’m moving on to option #2.

After getting that email and missing out on a potential big sale because of it, I added “Change Hours Online” to my Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve checklists. (You don’t have a “changing of the season” checklist? Dude, we need to talk.) 

I also started looking at those three online sources more critically.

  • Are they easy to navigate?
  • Are they answering the questions people who stumble upon them are asking?
  • Are they accurate?
  • Are they written for the customer, not some corporate lingo or legalese mumbo-jumbo?

Those sources are your customer’s first point of contact. It is the first impression people get of your business. It is the first point at which they judge your ability to solve their problems and take care of their needs.

They are either your worst or your best salespeople. 

They either build or destroy the trust you are trying to win from your customers. Yet far too often we neglect to look at them in that way.

I gave you Five Rules of Websites last April. Take those same rules and apply them to your Google Profile and your Facebook Page. Your digital profile is more important than ever before. Don’t let it kill sales before they happen.

(For those of you who don’t like to click links, the rules are:

  1. You don’t have to have eCommerce on your website to be successful.
  2. Every single page must have a clear and distinct purpose.
  3. Your website is your silent salesperson. Make it your best.
  4. Your hours, phone number, and address have to be prominent and easy to find.
  5. It has to be compatible for mobile platforms.

For an explanation of each rule, click and read. It will be worth it.)

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS If you have special circumstances for your hours such as certain times by appointment only, make sure those are clear as well. You actually do sometimes get a second chance to make a first impression, but it is incredibly hard to overcome the first first impression.

PPS The sixth rule is simply – Make sure your Core Values are evident on every page.

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