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Being Impossible to Contact

If you actually want the press—or customers—to contact you with requests for information (or to buy something) when we can’t find what we need directly on your site, then provide phone numbers and email addresses on a Contact Us page. For the press, other good places for this information are pages named Press Contacts, Media Center, etc. Forcing visitors to root through your site’s brochures, press releases, and so forth doesn’t win you any favors.

Please note that if we care enough to try contacting your company—rather than simply proceeding to a competitor’s site—we’ll call the first phone number we can find on your site: Sales, PR, Tech Support, anybody. And whoever answers the phone will expend time helping find us the right contact information.

On the other hand, don’t provide contact info if you’re not serious about being contacted. If your PR, Sales, Tech Support, or other departments don’t actually check and respond to email/phone messages, don’t provide that information on your site. (Although it would be helpful to say, "Don’t bother contacting us, we won’t reply," so we don’t waste our time.)

Another deadly annoyance is companies that don’t use their own web sites. Let’s assume that I can’t find a specific PR contact name, email address, or phone number, because the company’s Press Contacts page uses JavaScript and I don’t have access to a JavaScript-capable web browser at the moment. Example: "Contact Intel PR." Here’s what happens when I call the main phone number:

Me: I’m from the press, please connect me with somebody from PR.

Operator: I need a specific name.

Me: It’s probably on the web site, but I can’t get to that page.

Operator: I’m sorry, but I don’t have access to that information from here.

While we’re on the subject, if your site links to any companies that are your resellers or indirect partners (as opposed to just general links), you should make sure that their sites are both usable and useful.

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