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I find that maintaining a content management system agnostic contact form as a single person can be a pain at least in the context of software testing (not to mention anxiety that something would work wrong and I'll lose a lead) and that even using a content management system contact form module can be frustrating in certain CMSs (from my experience, MediaWiki in which there is little control over the form's components compared to say, Drupal).

I work primarily with small and medium businesses, is it a problem to replace the contact form with some VoIP application such as WhatsApp?

  • I would bet that at least 97.5% of my potential customers use WhatsApp
  • I already have a sticky "Let's talk in WhatsApp" button in the end of the website display
  • I am not enthusiastic to use VoIP applications in general and WhatsApp in particular but business is business; I might consider using a different extremely popular VoIP such as Zoom but I don't want to make this Q&A session into a software recommendation thread.
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  • Hi Semo! I prepared a lot of things to explain 😁. However, before posting, I want to make sure what is the purpose of your contact form? Do they use it to ask questions? Ask for support? Place an order?
    – Shahriar
    Sep 26, 2021 at 13:18
  • Hello @Shahriar and thanks ; the purpose of my contact form is to contact me personally, preferably with ordering a service (one hour of consultation/work/tutoring).
    – Semo
    Sep 27, 2021 at 3:27

3 Answers 3

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Not everyone has WhatsApp. I don't know where you get the 97.5% stat from. And does it even apply to users accessing via laptop? And even if that stat is correct, not everyone who does will want to have instant 'live' voice chat.

Whereas 100% of users of your website have a web-browser and (assuming it's accessibly built) are able to type content into a box and Submit.

So, if you're going to move away from a traditional Contact Us box to something more esoteric then you are going to be limiting the audience that will contact you. It's up to you to do the research into your customer-base to find out how many people this will impact. But it is not 0%. You mention anxiety about losing a lead with a traditional contact form - but the risk here is greater.

I also fail to see why a Contact Us form with a mailto: address doesn't count as 'CMS Agnostic'.

So. Sure, you can suggest the VOIP / WhatsApp as the primary method of contacting you. But you'd be very unwise to make that the only contact method.

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Since you mentioned Zoom and VoIP, I assume you are talking about instant chat with voice/video. Text contact form and video/voice call are two different things and don't share the same purpose. Knowing this, I suggest you use both respectively. However, if you really want to stick to one method - which I don't recommend, use a text contact form for these reasons:

  • Not all customers want to have an instant call or contact you with their personal (and probably private) accounts; also keep shy customers and who can't speak your language in mind.
  • You can style the form so it matches your branding. Using a third-party app doesn't give you enough customization options (I can only think of profile picture).
  • You can do a lot of automation things & stuff, since you are receiving form data in your site.
  • Not all customers have WhatsApp (or any other software you prefer), and you'll lose them.
  • Nobody can answer customers 24/7! With a contact form, you & your customer are free to communicate through different times, but an instant call forces both of you to be in a good condition - and in the same timezone/date.

To sum it up, my recommendation is to have both. Contact form for general customers, VoIP for customers who want to literally have a call with you. Let them choose!

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You should really talk to your users, see what they prefer. This is a really tricky question but it's mostly tricky just because we want to keep our ego as designers. Having a fresh, clean looking website, with clear user flows, all the nine yards yadda yadda...

I'm currently creating a florist website. Foundational interviews reveal that all of my interviewees want, no, require a live chat option through WhatsApp. They simply wouldn't use one that doesn't have a WhatsApp chat option. And all of the competitors I examined had a floating WhatsApp button in the corner. That is despite the facts that:

  • the currently existing florist websites they're using has clear user flows from home page to purchase completion;
  • they're accustomed to and trust the payment options available (seamless online payments not a very old thing in this country).

And why do they require WhatsApp? For one, liability. If something goes wrong (mostly during the delivery), they can track down the store admin to complain. Honestly, which one would you rather choose: track down the website again on a celebration day or funeral (for which you needed those flowers), preferably on a laptop, hope that the site has a complain button and complain form and lastly, hope that whoever the site admin is is currently active and looking at the complain databases or they're emailed or otherwise notified; or just tap WhatsApp and talk with whoever you've been talking to from the start?

Makes a lot of sense to me. It didn't before I started those interviews.

tl;dr ask your current and potential users

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