I offer webservices, how will my customers want to contact me?


1

I'm starting up my business. I'll be offering services to website owners, such as: finding broken links, making 3D covers for ebooks & DVDs from images they provide, maintaining their website, installing server scripts, migrating hand made site to CMS,finding stock images for them, submitting to search engines and converting sites to HTML5.

One of the questions I must answer is how will my customers want to contact me regarding the services I offer them, will email be enough? or they'll want chat? perhaps (Skype) calls? or even videoconferencing?

This is a one man company for international customers. Personally I'm fine with email only and eventually chat to quickly define what the customer wants. Spending time on a call or on webcam would take time away from other tasks (and time means money). But I was told that some customers would want "to see who they are dealing with".

So what means of contact should I offer?

Customers Web Services Contact

asked Jun 21 '11 at 18:51
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User2534
154 points
  • You should put your web site in your profile. That would be one way :) I'd check your web site out, for example. – Alex Aotea Studios 9 years ago

3 Answers


2

As you are providing a business service you need to provide as many possible way for your customers to contact you as possible. That means email, chat & phone.

I can understand the worry about time spend on phone calls but I promise you that if you don't have phone support you will loose customers.

In my previous position I was in charge of a full datacenter for a company. It was company policy that we do not do any business with service providers if there was not a phone contact available that connected to a live person. The reasoning was very simple. If we were ever issues with the service being provided the bosses wanted to be able to have me sit down in their office so we could dial a phone and talk to a person to deal with the issue right then and there.

answered Jun 21 '11 at 23:42
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Alan Barber
406 points
  • It's what I said, it depends on the service, and I don't think that mines require a phone number. But maybe they do, that's what I'm trying to find out. – User2534 9 years ago
  • I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree but as you mentioned providing a service "installing server scripts" I can promise you that I would never hire you and give you access to one of my servers if I don't have a physical address for your business and a phone number I can call you at. It basically boils down to this. As a business I want the assurance I can speak to a real human if I need to and more importantly, if you really screw up I want to know I can track you down and sue you for the damage you did. – Alan Barber 9 years ago
  • +1. "businesses" without contact address are even illegal in most jurisdictions. Where I live you HAVE to give address, responsible person, registration code and responsible court for suing you in every business conversation BY LAW (and that includes every email you send). You dont tell me who I am dealing with? GET OFF MY LINES. – Net Tecture 9 years ago

1

If you're trying to make sales, you want as many customers as possible to contact you in whichever way they prefer. Each customer has different preferences, so you should make as many communication avenues as possible available. That means publishing a phone number, skype number, email address, physical address, as well as putting a chat mechanism on your website.

You don't want your normal work interrupted by customer communications (phone calls etc), but if you want customers to contact you you'll need to find a balance.

Don't even consider charging a support fee just for new customers to get in touch with you - you won't get any new customers.

answered Aug 4 '11 at 19:40
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Greg Sansom
130 points

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Have a "contact us" form on your site. That will allow for inital contact at your pace. After that I would recomend email and calls (your skype to their phyisical phone). Basically go with what the customer is used to and normally uses.

answered Jun 21 '11 at 19:55
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Tom Squires
1,047 points
  • Beyond email, I lose control of my time. If I spend 20 minutes talking with a customer, I won't spend those minutes on other tasks that I'll earn money for, and I can't charge for those minutes because I sell a very defined service (not like creating a site from scratch). So either I include a 1 hour support fee in the initial price, or I don't provide extra support. That's how I see things but I don't know how it usually goes in this field. – User2534 9 years ago
  • There is always going to be some level of contact that you have to pay for (silly emails or chats on the phone). I would recomend you factor that into your price plan. – Tom Squires 9 years ago

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