Surveys have repeatedly shown that customers value a prompt response more than any other aspect of customer service. As standards of customer service overall rise in today’s competitive environment, speed has become an increasingly important way to differentiate your business.
The good news about fast responses is that it is nearly entirely within the control of the business. The bad news is that doing it consistently isn’t easy. Getting a fast response requires commitment from the business and often adding resources.
However it is worth it. Customers appreciate and respond to speedy service and they reward it with loyalty.
This is especially critical in sales in following up on leads. Multiple surveys show that businesses in general do a lousy job of following up quickly.
In fact too many leads don’t get followed up on at all. Studies have shown that up to one-quarter of the leads at the average business simply aren’t responded to. The loss of potential business is enormous.
Even more businesses don’t respond to leads in a timely manner. This is almost as damaging as not responding at all.
The average business takes at least 48 hours to respond to a sales lead. The companies may find this acceptable but their customers don’t.
According to one study companies that respond to leads in less than an hour are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a decision maker than a company that waits more than an hour to respond.
To further exacerbate this problem, the customer’s expected response time to a comment or complaint varies with the medium. Nearly two-thirds of customers expect a response to a Tweet in an hour or less. Eighty-five percent of customers expect a response to a Facebook message in six hours and three-quarters of them won’t wait more than six hours for an email response.
This is especially significant when you realize that fifty percent of B2B customers now use social media to contact potential suppliers. Clearly the old standards for response time are hopelessly inadequate for social media and that’s a growing problem.
The cure for the problem of inadequate response times is squarely in the hands of business. The first step is simple: Set response times for responding to customers, especially sales calls.
Prioritize responses depending on the type of call and the media used to make contact. Make sure everyone knows what the acceptable response times are and that they’ll be graded on how quickly they get back to the customers.
This may be simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. At the very least it will require changes in the habits of your people. Responding to customers has to move to the top of everyone’s to-do list in spite of other distractions. It means that social media in particular has to be monitored closely.
It may turn out that you can’t meet these standards with the existing resources. If that’s the case you will have to reallocate or add resources to make responding to your customers’ job one. This can be expensive but studies indicate the cost will quickly be paid back by increased business and more customer loyalty.
About the Author
Rick Cook has been involved with computers since the days of punched cards and magnetic drum memories. He has written hundreds of articles on computers and related technology as well as a series of fantasy novels full of bad computer jokes.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ May 4, 2017 at 01:18PM