Monday, January 1, 2007

Website Forms: How NOT to Provide Assistance

I frequently trawl the Internet during my spare time. And I find that I often will be searching a site and come up with a question or comment about the company/organization at hand. So I look for contact information to air said question or comment. And what do I find more often than not: the devil's idea of website marketing... "contact forms".

A visitor to a website in some way has interest in learning more about the website owner (i.e.-- I'm not going to go to, say, Manchester City Football Club's website if I have no interest in the team). But contact forms, like this annoying form from Wawa's website, are a direct impediment to contacting somebody on the other end. Why would I want to fill out a form full of questions, often including my name, email address, question topic, and so forth, when simply having an appropriate email address would make things so much more direct. In addition, I find that there's a 50% chance that the recipient will ever respond... which is unfathomable since each and every legitimate question/comment should get a response. I think the information filled out in these forms often gets lost in "cyberspace", never to be found again. Or perhaps the information is found, but only after 3 months of sitting in contact form purgatory.

My advice: provide a direct email link to a real person who can answer a question/comment or who can redirect you to the appropriate person. Ditch the forms.

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