Why 'contact us' is a digital no-no

So many enterprises claim to be digital while still not delivering a fully seamless, customer-centric digital experience.
The experience they deliver is full of blackspots, holes and silos. And it is still designed and measured from the organisation’s perspective, rather than from that of their customers or prospects.
A good example of that is the call-to-action. There is no more important piece of information or service than to enable a customer or prospect to interact with you. Yet the ‘Contact Us’ page on the website or app is a great example of where everything is going wrong.
Many companies invest in a digital experience up to the point where the customer wants to interact with them. At that point, many enterprises deliver a static page with a bunch of email addresses, phone numbers and maybe – just maybe – an IM chat. Suddenly the digital experience falls apart and the customer recognises it for what it is – a digital makeover for an analogue company.
Asking me, the customer, to dial a number is not only intrusive on my digital experience, it also means I am now exposed to another discontinuum. Because I already know that you won’t be transferring any data from the digital silo to the contact centre silo. The data about everything I looked at and explored won’t be available to your long-suffering CSR. I’ll have to tell you my basic details again. You won’t know what I’m interested in. The repetition will grate on me. I will be irritated even before I begin to speak to you.
Even the words ‘contact us’ are not digital. Digital is about personalised interactions, not demands for ‘contact’. In real life no-one uses the words ‘contact me’. They may say call me, text me or email me, but never ‘contact me’. Only in the enterprise customer service world do we hear such a phrase. But words matter. These words set a wrong, jarring tone right from the start. They do not represent an invitation to find out more, interact or come closer, but are a harsh demand from an imperious, impersonal entity.
And while you have me filling out your contact forms, here’s another of my bête noirs. Why do you expect me to scroll down a list of 50 countries to get to the US or the UK? Yes, that’s alphabetically correct; but experientially it’s a disaster. How many solutions are you selling to the Aland Islands, Angola, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Northern Mariana Islands, Sint Maartan or Tuvalu? It is far quicker to type US and UK than to use your annoying scrolling form.
Companies that claim to be digital still present these irritating, old-fashioned analogue ways of interacting with customers. They undermine the experience they are trying to provide, as well as their brand image, by only paying lip service to digital experience and painting a thin digital veneer over the cracks of a siloed and old-fashioned online experience.