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Often you'll see websites with a "For any questions, please contact us..." followed by a box for your name, email, subject, maybe some invoice data...

When should these be implemented on a website? Are there any statistics out there on use of these? What are some alternatives?

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Whatever the recipient needs to know to assist the user should be included on the form.

Never ask for less then what you need. All you really need is a name and a contact method (email address, phone number) but in some situations asking for more information, like a product serial number if it is a warranty issue, etc, should be required as it greatly expedites the process of assisting the user. The goal is not to discourage users from contacting you but getting as much information as you can so the process of assisting them is smooth and easy for both parties..

Never require more then than that. You can ask for more but don't require it. You don't want to turn away users just because they feel like completing the form is a chore (or have difficulty with a field/information).

EDIT:

Would you say having a contact form is better by any given measure than simply saying "contact me at user1725@example.com or by phone at 1800-555-2600" ?

Yes. Not only does it prevent the email address from being displayed which prevents spam and allows it to change without affecting users, but it allows you do ask whatever you need from users instead of hoping they provide you with the information you need (they rarely do). Having a phone number is a good idea if phone support is available as many people prefer it and it provide an immediate response which can be good for sales/customer relations.

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Would you say having a contact form is better by any given measure than simply saying "contact me at user1725@example.com or by phone at 1800-555-2600" ? –  Incognito Sep 30 '10 at 13:46
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Yes. Not only does it prevent the email address from being displayed which prevents spam and allows it to change without affecting users, but it allows you do ask whatever you need from users instead of hoping they provide you with the information you need (they rarely do). Having a phone number is a good idea if phone support is available as many people prefer it and it provide an immediate response which can be good for sales/customer relations. –  John Conde Sep 30 '10 at 14:00
    
Could you put your comment into your answer? I'm going to accept this one. –  Incognito Sep 30 '10 at 15:34
    
No problem. It's done. –  John Conde Sep 30 '10 at 15:58
    
While a contact us form is useful, you should almost always provide an email address as well. As Joel said, a contact page should have contact information on it. –  configurator Sep 30 '10 at 22:24
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Zoho Creator lets you create a Contact/Feedback form without coding.

Once configured, Zoho Creator provides you a code snippet that you can paste into your web pages. When the page is rendered, the Form appears within an IFRAME. When a visitor fills the feedback form, the values are saved to a database that can be accessed online and the values submitted can also be sent to an email address that you specify.

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google spreadsheets also have a similar capability, except the answers are stored in a google spreadsheet. In fact, you may even be able to create the form, grab the html, and then drop it on your page so you don't need an iframe. I haven't tested that but the code looks like it could handle it. –  robertpateii Sep 30 '10 at 20:07
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Use a captcha or else you will get spam.

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Unless you have some pressing need to insulate employees from contact with the world except through email, a contact page should have proper contact information on it. Every piece of information should be transparent (and accurate). People visiting contact pages are largely performing research or attempting to find information about products/services that is not otherwise available on the website (for whatever reason).

Not having information such as an address, phone number, and an email address can be very off-putting to potential customers. If they don't believe they can contact someone at the company related to problems they may have in the future, they may choose to go elsewhere.

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