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How To Be Easier To Talk To

Phone boothOne thing I know about these fast times we live in – people want information and engagement when they want and how them want it. The best way to turn this to your advantage is to employ tools that make it as easy as possible for prospects and customers to contact, engage, discuss, provide feedback, get help, collaborate and otherwise talk to you, while still having a life.

Job 1 is to make certain that you have your basic contact information, including maps and directions, right there on every page. Secure contact forms are a great way to make sure messages get through and I’ve also added EmailCenterPro email management software to make sure those emails get answered by the right person in the right way.

Instant Message - providing IM and chat room widgets allow visitors to get an answers and chat with other visitors
Meebo
Bold Chat

Click to Talk and Live Chat – These tools make it very easy for you to monitor a visitors activity and answer questions before they even get asked
LivePerson
Click2Talk

Ratings and Reviews – These scripts can be added to web pages to allow visitors or customer to rate and review products and content making them more useful to future visitors.
JS Kit
PHP Scripts

Testimonials – This tool automates the process of collecting audio testimonials from customers to post on your website.
Audio Acrobat

Feedback – Getting consistent feedback from customers, vendors, partners, and staff is a great way to discover new ways to serve your customers and how to do things better.
Rypple
Survey Gizmo

FAQ Manager – Let your sales team, marketing department and customers collaborate on the creation of real-time FAQs
Knowledge Manager

Help Desk – provide answers solutions to customer support questions
Zen Desk

Forums- By providing your prospects and customers with a place to ask each other questions, you may find your customers selling and providing customer service type responses on your behalf.
Vanilla
Userplane -

Instant Demo – Using web conferencing tools you can show a prospect a sales presentation at the drop of a hat
Glance
GoToMeeting

Mobilize Site – while this one is a bit off topic, it’s important that you address the needs of folks visiting and interacting with your sites on mobile devices
MoFuse
Winksite

The above list just scratches the surface in terms of available tools, but hopefully this gets you thinking about ways to make it easier for your prospects and customers to get the information they are looking for.

What other tools have you discovered useful for this?

Image credit: law kevin

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  • http://www.customercommunicationscommunity.com/ Jules

    The on site chat room is valuable and something that I have recently experimented with and will be re-implementing. This kind of visible chat activity on a site can really help to encourage and drive other customers to communicate with you… and it's all about time spent with the customer.

  • http://masterresalerightsdirectory.com/starting-your-own-resale-rights-membership-site/2009/ Rocket Resaler

    Great ideas to getting and staying connected. To be honest with you I never considered providing a forum. But I see your point that my contacts (customers etc) can help one another and me at the same time. I suppose you could even hire a freelance person to monitor the forum daily and post 'anonymously' on your behalf as well to further market products or services without blatantly pushing the stuff yourself. Hmmm, a whole new realm of ideas was uncovered.

  • http://lifeblue.com/ Seth Robinson

    I really like products from Omnistar, they have a product Omnistar Live at http://www.omnistarlive.com another favorite is http://www.omnistarmailer but all of their products can be found at http://www.omnistaretools.com . I use their live chat feature on my site and I have noticed an increase in my sales and I get a lot of users requesting chats. I think online tools area great and can help your business

  • http://www.emarketed.com/ Lynna

    Very helpful points! I think integrating a ratings and reviews section is a must for potential customers. I like that these things revolve around making things easier for the customer and in the end, it makes things easier for us too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Molly-Hughes/1138224075 Molly Hughes

    This is going on my desktop for later deep reading/implementing.
    I'm DETERMINED to get my website up SOON so trying to just skim the important/interesting stuff so I can keep what I want to investigate further reserved for later.

  • http://www.generatorland.com/ MikeR

    These are all great technologies, but the hard part, especially in a smaller organization, is cross-training and mobilizing staff to use all of them appropriately. If the customer knocks someone has to be there.

  • http://www.triangledirectmedia.com/ Scott Gardner

    Fantastic post. I am often surprised how much time and money people spend on marketing, only to make it near impossible to reach. Though websites and tools can answer many client questions, nothing replaces good old fashion person-to-person communication.

  • http://www.boldsoft.com/ Ann Marie Ricard

    John – Great post and thank you for including Bold Software's BoldChat in this group of valuable tools that make it easy to engage with prospects and customers. One thing to clarify for your readers is that BoldChat is not an IM product, but rather a fit for the live chat category. Businesses use the BoldChat live chat offering to create a more personal connection with visitors to their website.
    Thank you.

  • http://www.boldsoft.com/ Ann Marie Ricard

    John – Great post and thank you for including Bold Software's BoldChat in this group of valuable tools that make it easy to engage with prospects and customers. One thing to clarify for your readers is that BoldChat is not an IM product, but rather a fit for the live chat category. Businesses use the BoldChat live chat offering to create a more personal connection with visitors to their website.
    Thank you.