Seems pretty elementary right? You should respond to all emails and form requests and you should do it very quickly. As a rule I try to answer every email the same day. But you would be shocked at how many companies actually ignore emails and form requests. Remarkable, right?
Case in point, I have been looking at new car leases and have been emailing back-and-forth with various dealers. I actually had one dealer in the Florida area that I was very close to a deal with. We had agreed to a price and I just asked him how much more would it be to extend the lease for one more year. Now originally, he was being very receptive, and we had a deal just about in hand. He knew I was ready to pull the trigger, but suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. Trying to think positively of the gentleman I sent him a follow-up email. “I have not heard back from you, wondering where we are. I’d like to finalize.” It has been two weeks and I have not heard a thing from my email or my follow-up. I have of course moved on. So what’s the result? Well the dealer lost a potential new client and a very good sale. So I can only think that either the guy was full of you know what and never had the deal, or he had some other angle he was trying to run. Regardless, he blew it. At very least he should of said, I can’t do that deal, but if you’re still interested, perhaps we can find a different deal that is acceptable. Okay, so maybe I would not have been thrilled but at least I would’ve respected him for getting back to me and telling me the truth. And I may have used him down the road or recommended him to my friends.
I can’t tell you how many times people come to me trying to increase their business. Almost always, I give them the same advice. If you want to do business via the web or social media you have to be responsive. People write you because they don’t have time for a call or just want to get a quick quote or perhaps an answer to a question. If you ignore your email and form requests, you’re basically kissing business goodbye.
So here is a good rule of thumb. Try and respond to all emails and form requests very same day. And, it doesn’t mean you have to solve their issue or even complete their request (if they’re current customer). But it just means you’re saying “hey I hear you, I am here and I’m on this for you.
A large percentage of business RooSites has gained over the years is due to our response time. People are shocked how quickly we respond to questions. Clients are amazed we turn around requests the same day on most occasions. This of course should be the norm, not the anomaly. Customer Service pays dividends, plain and simple.
As my company designs, develops and manages websites for small businesses, I am often asked for advice and tips. One of the simplest pieces of advice and also the most important is to answer email promptly. If you have a contact form on your site or even just an email link, people are looking for immediate responses. I tell people if at all possible answer within a day. I know, many of you are saying to yourselves, DUH! But the truth is many small businesses take days to respond and many times never even reply. To me this is like a guy coming into your store, putting a purchase on the counter and you just flat out ignore the customers existence. You wouldn’t do that in your brick and mortar store, so don’t do it online. The same principals should apply.
If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
If you can’t answer promptly, then remove the form and the email link from your site. Let people know that they should call. I think it defeats much of what people are looking for going to your website, but still preferable to ignoring them. Another alternative is to have an autoresponder telling them you will be calling back and tell them to call if they require immediate attention.
Bottom Line: Responding to customer’s email is typically the first experience people have with your company. Make it a positive one and you may begin a relationship which will hopefully be long and profitable.