Why You Should Only Use a Contact Form for New Client Inquiries
Imagine this. Amy is going to Hawaii next week and she’s in serious need a spray tan. She goes online and finds three independent spray tan specialists in her city.
Business #1: The phone number, email address, and a contact form are placed on every page.
Business #2: The phone number is placed on the Contact page only.
Business #3: A “Schedule an Appointment” button is on placed every page and links to a contact form where Jon can request an appointment.
Which spray tan specialist will likely get Amy’s business?
The answer is #3, the business with a single (but noticeable) contact form.
We already know that every great business website needs a specific way for visitors to contact the business. A therapist is selling a service, so the therapy website needs to direct the visitors to a method for initiating the service. If the website doesn’t create a simple way for potential clients to reach you, they will leave your website and find a therapist who is easier to contact.
Traditionally, therapists have published their phone number and email address on their website. And with the popularity of website forms, I’m now seeing therapists provide all three: the phone number, email address, and a contact form. The line of thinking is, “I’m making it easier for clients to initiate services if I give them several ways to reach me.”
This method leaves clients confused and wondering if they chose the best method of contact. They might reach out to another therapist because they feel unsure about you. That’s not a good way to get started with a new client.
Here’s why I recommend only using a contact corm on your website:
1. LESS CONFUSION AND ANXIETY
Publishing several methods of contact can lead to confusion and anxiety about which way is most likely to reach the business promptly. Some clients will feel so anxious that they’ll use all three and you must figure out how to keep all that organized.
The problem with providing an email address and phone number is that your potential client will have to take an extra step to reach you. The mind does not like barriers – even small ones. When you create more work for your potential client, you risk losing them. When potential clients can easily find your form and reach out without opening their email, they will be more likely to contact you instead of seeking a different therapist.
Publishing a phone number and email address on your site will lead to a lot of spam. Spambots crawl around the internet like sneaky little rats looking for publicly displaced email addresses and phone numbers to harvest. A contact form gives you a layer of protection against spam.
Having one method of contact makes it possible to develop a simple, streamlined organizational system for your new client inquiries. You will only need to keep track of one type of inquiry, not three. Yes, to simplifying!
My system is simple. My website host (Squarespace) sends all new client inquiries from my website to my email. I’ve set my email program to flag them automatically, so I don’t miss them. After I’ve reached the client, I upload the message to their clinical chart and then delete it from my email system.
5. SCREENING AND GATHERING DATA
I wrote an entire blog post about this HERE. In a nutshell, your contact form is customizable, so you can require that potential clients answer specific questions or provide information. You cut down on unnecessary inquiries from clients who aren’t a good fit for you or who need to use an insurance plan you don’t take. You can also collect data on your referral sources by asking how the client found you.
With a contact form, you can use Google Analytics for tracking the inquiries. You can learn where your visitors came from and what they were looking at on your website before and after they submitted the form.
If you have any questions about this or any other practice-building topic, use the comment form HERE, and your question could be featured in a future blog post.
Level Up Your Practice is a business consultation and web design company in Gig Harbor, WA. Level Up specializes in private practice consultation and therapy websites for therapist, counselors, and coaches. Services are offered in-person or virtually.