Stomach lurching. Tear welling. Fist slamming.
You know what I’m talking about: that feeling you get when you make some stupid mistake that could cost you business.
It happened to me this week. And I’m still kicking myself.
“Hi Ms. Cretella. This is my fourth attempt to reach out to you, after filling out your online form three times. I thought I’d try to call you before I gave up…”
Cue: freak out. How did this happen?
An important prospective client had tried to contact me through my website’s Contact form. But those messages never made it to my inbox. Luckily, she was persistent (which is definitely not the norm) and she finally called me. I was able to chat with her, apologize for the hassle, and it all worked out.
But that was one prospective client. Were there others that I lost in the broken-Contact-form abyss?
I checked my spam folders. I searched my website. Nothing. No missed emails. The form isn’t working — and who knows how long it’s been broken.
The hard-learned lesson here: You can tell a good story, but if you don’t make it stupid-easy for someone to respond, you’re talking to yourself — and losing business.
Sometimes, the most important aspects of communication are overlooked. We focus on producing great content, and developing products, and beefing up our services, and we forget the basics. I certainly did.
This mishap made me pause and do a little housekeeping. I’ve been testing things. Checking out long-ignored areas. And praying that my story has been good enough to bring those missed opportunities back.
Don’t make my stupid mistake. Consider this my friendly reminder to check some of the silly things that might secretly be blowing your business:
1. Are your website forms working and up-to-date? And is someone checking the email address they are being forwarded to?
2. Are your autoresponders in place … and do they still contain appropriate language?
3. Is your voice mailbox empty, and are you still happy with the greeting?
4. Do you include your email, phone number or even mailing address in multiple locations on your website?
5. Do replies to your mass emails go to someone who actually reviews them and responds?
6. Is someone in charge of responding to all inquiries and comments on your social media accounts?
7. If you include an employee directory online, are both the employees included and their contact information current?
8. Are your website pop-up messages promoting the right offer?
9. Are you spam folder harboring client emails? (This one is super critical — my email provider recently changed its spam policies, sending all my client communications to junk. Pain in the butt.)
10. Have you backed up your website lately?
11. Are you checking your blog’s comments? If you don’t have a good spam filter, legitimate comments could be lost in the spammy muck.
OK friends, please share your own miserable tales with us to save others from stupid mistakes. Was there a time you made a little mistake that caused a huge mess? Warn us about it in the comments below!
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