Yes, there are Etiquette considerations when it comes to websites. Basically Etiquette is just another word for best practices, right? In this case it’s called customer service.
Customer Service Involves Both Sides
Today we’ll talk about the basics both sides should consider when it comes to using websites to communicate for business. For example, what business site owners should implement when it comes to providing information and responding to inquiries.
Then there is what the website visitor should consider before they click that contact link and start typing cryptic comments or requests. Or making assumptions because they didn’t read the information provided.
For both sides these tips can contribute to building successful business relationships.
Basic Etiquette for Business Website Owners:
- Have a FAQ page that includes all the answers to the questions customers most likely have. This will reflect that you know your market’s concerns.
- Have all your company’s contact information easily found on your site. If not on every page in the lower footer area, at the very least on your Contact page.
- Be clear and concise when posting your policies so that visitors know what to expect if they choose to do business with you. Have your policies posted on your site where they can easily find them for review.
- Respond quickly and in detail to visitor inquiries. Only personal responses that answer the customer’s specific questions will do. Avoid canned or automated responses. By responding promptly, in detail, you contribute to building a trust factor with visitors which encourages them to do business with you.
- When you are made aware of a broken link, a typo or functionality that isn’t working right, thank the site visitor who brought the issue to your attention with a personal email. Act as though you were just provided an opportunity for you to make your site better.
(These are the bare-bone basics. I discuss all the variables of having a successful business website on my consulting blog.)
Basic Etiquette for Business Website Visitors:
- Read the FAQ before emailing asking questions. Doing so will show you respect the site owner’s time and lends to you looking like a top-notch potential customer. This includes reading the privacy statements and/or order policies before you engage in a business relationship.
- When emailing a website, type clearly and concisely about what you would like to know. Provide specifics so that the site owner can reply in kind.
- To use a website’s functionality, read the help files and tutorials that are provided to help you before you email for support.
- When utilizing a website’s live online chat, be just as courteous as though you were face-to-face with the support agent. Once your session is completed, be sure to thank the operator for their time and assistance before just clicking off and going on your way. Doing so always makes their day!
- If you find an error on a website, email the site owner privately noting you are hoping to be helpful. To mention errors in public comments without giving the site owner the opportunity to remedy the situation first makes one wonder about your motives.
Thinking About Others…
All too often both website owners and visitors think too much about themselves. What their goal is. While that is understandable, it is still both side’s responsibility to help the other reach that goal.
By website owners and customers making the above basic efforts, both can look forward to more mutually respectful (and most likely profitable) business partnerships.