Years ago, I phoned my optometrist for an appointment. The optometrist and his wife were acquaintances from church. Super nice folks.
So I phoned their office and I was greeted with a lengthy recorded message about how-happy-everyone-was-that-I called and what-a-great-day-it-was and would-I-press-one-for-this or two-for-that or three-for this, etc. The message was terribly lengthy and very chirpy, which made it doubly annoying.
They had a small office. It wasn’t like I was phoning Google. I just wanted someone to pick up the phone and make an appointment for me.
Because I knew them, I talked to the wife, who was the office manager. She totally defended their practice: “We do that so we can better serve our clients who are in the office.”
So better serving your clients over the phone is not valuable? I don’t think so.
Since I couldn’t envision myself running the gauntlet of sugary automated messages whenever I phoned, I never went back — even though I really liked them, personally.
Recently, I was reminded of that experience. I wanted to make a referral to a company for one of my clients. When I went to the company’s website, I couldn’t find a phone number. There was no number in the header, none in the footer, and none on the contact page.
The only way to contact them was via their contact form.
This disturbed me. Again, this is not a company that’s a mammoth like Google or Amazon, although, with the latter even they will give you a phone number if you dig deep enough.
After filling out the contact form, the owner did call me and when I asked him why he didn’t have his phone number on his site, he said he had read an article about the pros and cons and it seemed to make sense. I didn’t ask but it was probably so he wouldn’t have to vet unserious leads, pay for the labor to field phone calls, get numerous spam calls, etc.
He also said, “You’re the third person in two weeks who has asked me that.” During our conversation, he decided to put the number back on his site.
I mentioned this incident to my brother who used to own an advertising agency and he thought it was a terrible idea for businesses not to put their phone numbers on their websites. He said, “A lot of restaurants won’t let you phone them; they want you to go online to make reservations.”
I realize many of my readers are not likely to fall into the above practice, but since it’s becoming more common, I thought I would warn you about it.
Personally, I think the more ways you can make it easy for the customer to contact you the better.
Easy Web Tip 325: Put your phone number on your website prominently and often and, then, answer the phone.
P.S. If you want to explore this issue more deeply this article might be helpful.