You can have the best designed website in the world, but if there’s no way for potential customers to interact with you, then you are simply setting yourself up for failure. All sites need some sort of two-way interaction with their customer base, regardless of what format it takes. Online contact forms are the most straightforward way for businesses to achieve this communication.
Here are just some of the common kinds of interaction you can implement via a contact form:
- Support Queries
Each of the above points of contact is an opportunity to make a new sale or cement an existing business relationship. How commonly are contact forms used for this purpose? Here are a couple of statistics:
- 28% of markers say a well-designed form helps generate better leads. [source: HubSpot]
- 53% of site visitors can be converted to leads with a good multi-stage form. [source: Venture Harbour]
- 65% of users communicated with a business by email in 2019, and 42% did so via their website. [source: Smart Insights]
Opinions may differ on the efficacy of online forms for direct sales. However, what is universally admitted is that you must have a means for users to reach you.
What are the Benefits of Using Online Forms?
Businesses who choose to incorporate a form into their site do so for a several reasons. Here are just a few of them:
1: The Business Enquiry Form
Service industry businesses such as hospitality, travel, health, and beauty, rely on keeping the customer happy. They offer a range of services and facilities, including options that can be added to a sale. This level of service complexity often throws up questions which can’t easily be answered in a set of FAQs.
There are also bespoke business models, where craftspeople, designers and other creatives are commissioned directly by clients. Often such commissions will begin with queries sent out to potential candidates. A simple enquiry form with an open text field allows possible clients and collaborators to reach you directly.
Using such forms and making them readily accessible gives your business a reputation for approachability and conviviality. Get into the habit of promptly replying to all initial enquiries in a reasonable time (state the standard timescale on your site) and you could see a significant upswing in conversions.
2: Feedback Surveys and Complaint Forms
While you may not enjoy all the responses you get from feedback or compliant forms, they should be viewed as providing an opportunity. All feedback should be considered helpful, as providing an opportunity to improve your products or services.
Sometimes, when a complaint is well-handled, perhaps offering discounts or other forms of compensation, the complainant can even be converted into an advocate for the brand!
By incorporating a simple feedback form, you’ll be able to identify common themes and issues with your product offering, or identify opportunities for product line expansion. You’ll also garner a reputation for being a responsive and caring business, with excellent customer service.
3: Order Forms
These fall into two broad categories:
- Ecommerce platforms where you can purchase a product online.
- Freemium trials which combine downloads or discount codes with obtaining sales prospect contact details.
Whether you’re selling physical goods or services, or offering “freemium” subscriptions to SaaS products, incorporating a simple form will allow you to take customer details quickly and efficiently, without having to send purchasers or sign-ups offsite.
Sometimes a form builder will have the ability (as Headlessforms’ does) to link to a range of online merchant facilities, like Stripe, so that although you don’t incorporate these directly into your code, you can use their superior security and validation features for your transactions.
Freemium subscriptions are a great way to introduce potential customers to just enough of your product’s features to get them hooked, so that they later convert to a paid subscription. You can add these customers to your CRM database (with Headlessforms you can use a Zapier zap or webhook to automate that).
It should then be possible to send these free users marketing messages, via a structured campaign, with the aim of converting them and increasing revenue.
4: Support Queries
SaaS products, in particular, give rise to a lot of technical queries. User forums, webinars and FAQs are useful ways for dealing with the bulk of these. However, there will always be tricky scenarios which require your IT team to liaise directly with customers.
It is important that you do this, to avoid frustrating existing customers and either losing conversions, or failing to maximize renewals at the end of a payment cycle. The last thing you want is for your loyal customers to become disloyal and jump ship to a rival brand!
By incorporating a straightforward support query form, you can:
- Reassure the customer that their problem is being taken seriously.
- Streamline the process by asking preparatory questions to narrow the field of enquiry.
- Issue a unique support ticket, so that all future communication is correctly filed and accessible.
Even support responses can be seen as an opportunity for retaining customers. Surveys have shown repeatedly that good customer service is a prime factor in consumer brand choice.
To what extent? In a survey by Netomi, it was found that 77% of consumers consider good customer servicer essential to preserving brand loyalty and generating business. That’s too prevalent a belief to ignore. Having great customer support goes a long way to building your reputation for excellent service.
Why not simply use an email address for all enquiries?
It’s not very reassuring to provide only a basic contact email and let the customer do the rest. There are several reasons for this:
- It gives the impression that you may not receive many enquiries, for how else could you handle the volume of undifferentiated emails you must receive?
- It decreases consumer confidence that each email will be correctly directed.
- Users may worry that their enquiry has been lost or redirected into a junk items folder.
- It requires the user to visit their own email platform, taking them off your site.
Any time a potential lead must stop to think, or figure out how to copy-paste, or is given an opportunity to change their minds, there’s a risk that they won’t follow through.
Instead, present them with a simple form which takes a couple of minutes to complete (Google’s autofill or other autocomplete systems may make it even easier). Before the potential customer has had a moment to reconsider, they’ve hit “submit” and you have the only email address that matters – theirs!
How do WordPress Designers Incorporate Forms?
If your website operates on WordPress, then it’s possible, but awkward, to create a form using HTML. A much better strategy is to use a third party form builder to help design your contact form.
So, what exactly is a form builder?
This is a piece of software that plugs into your site and supplies a method for designing and embedding a form. Good form builders will also collate and arrange customer submissions in a way that’s easy to interpret, analyze, share, and export. The very best of them will allow you to create a form in minutes with just a basic understanding of HTML.
Headlessforms’ web builder does all these things, and more. With just a few lines of code, users incorporate an endpoint into their site, so that form responses are sent to Headlessforms’ secure cloud-based server. Headlessforms’ clients can create a multiplicity of form designs in a matter of minutes using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
Why use a third-party form builder?
Here are some of the benefits of using a form builder to furnish your site with a contact form:
- It creates a professional, intuitive form that reduces UX friction, and maximizes responses.
- It provides the opportunity to convert a prospect into a qualified lead; one for whom you have full contact details.
- Mandatory fields give you the opportunity to gather any information you want (within reason, and adhering to GDPR or other data privacy regulations, of course).
- Opening an account with Headlessforms means you can create multiple forms for a multiplicity of purposes, in a matter of minutes, saving your developers much time.
- Drag-and-drop UI makes form completion properly intuitive, requiring no coding.
- No coding experience is needed in setting a form endpoint either. Once registered, you’re issue with a token you can use to like a short piece of code in your site to the data repository where your responses are collated.
- Headlessforms provides users with an intuitive dashboard where they can access, analyse, sort, share and export all their responses.
- We also provide duplicate and bot detection measures to limit or quarantine spam replies.
For all these reasons, you get so much more than simply an online form when you partner with a third-party form builder like Headlessforms.
What you get, in short, is a level of professionalism that allows you to compete in the demanding world of online sales and e-commerce.
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