We offer online counseling services. We get a lot of traffic to the site. A lot of people complete a registration form but do not schedule an appointment. We have asked for feedback and our marketing company tried to help isolate the issue. How can we ensure customers follow through with setting an appointment? We would appreciate any help you can provide.

Carol Pulley,,



One question is: How did you ask for feedback? Getting useful responses from the people who chose not to engage with your firm or buy a product can be very difficult and problematic. It might be best to conduct focus groups or other research with people before they look for your type of service to get a more realistic picture of their intentions. But certainly avoid the trap of asking those who made appointments why they did and make decisions based on that experience — it has little bearing on why others did not.

As to garnering higher rates of appointment making, think about the barriers you can eliminate. Anyone who gives you all the registration information clearly has some trust in your business, and at least wants more information. It may be that for some people who need counseling services an additional layer of contact will be necessary to solidify that trust to the point of making an appointment.

Another thought is that registration for an appointment is not blocked by your system or efforts but rather by the individual’s access to a personal calendar. You might explore pop-ups or other mechanisms that would give seamless access to Outlook or other programs in real time with your open appointment schedule.

Finally, it could simply be that the online interface doesn’t make it as easy as a click-through to make the appointment. It’s never a waste of time to revisit the online processes with this issue in mind.

About the author: Mike Porter, director, Master of Business Communication Program, University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business