The world continues to change in a vast number of ways. The way we communicate with one another has changed drastically with the advancements on the internet and mobile devices. These technologies have dramatically cut down the time it takes to communicate with others. However, these advancements have also led many consumers to raise their expectations when it comes to communicating with businesses, with many expecting speed when responding to inquiries.
Since mobile devices and the internet have increased the speed of communicating, many consumers expect businesses to respond to their inquiries immediately. The Harvard Business Review found that businesses have roughly five minutes to respond to a lead before they lose it forever.
A 2018 study found that the average response time for most businesses is a little over 12 hours. While this has certainly seen an improvement over the last several years, if you are a business owner, you have to ask yourself if this is truly fast enough.
How Leads Are Lost
Every year, digital marketers spend billions of dollars advertising their products to potential customers. They tend to use the same marketing channels to get the word out, including SEO, SEM, social media, retargeting, email marketing, and more. Typically, most ads will have a call-to-action, encouraging your audience to engage with your business.
These call-to-actions should redirect consumers to a landing page or home page on your company website. The money spent on advertising should direct traffic to a place that allows consumers to interact with your business, purchasing your goods or services.
However, many consumers want to learn more about a company before they complete a transaction or conduct business with a company. Chances are that many potential customers are reaching out to other businesses and asking about their services, as well.
If you aren’t responding to inquiries quickly, someone else is.
Many businesses may include forms for people to fill out that allows you to set up a consultation with them or discuss services with a sales rep. Other businesses have an automated email response set up that responds to every incoming email. However, these emails often give off the impression that you are either too busy to respond or that you won’t be there when they need you, which may send them on to another business.
When is the Appropriate Time to Respond?
As we mentioned, the Harvard Business Review found that people expect a response within five minutes. However, for many businesses, this isn’t always achievable.
A 2018 study surveyed over 1,200 consumers, asking them how quickly they expected a response after sending a business an email. The study also took into account response time expectations for social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook.
To arrive at this conclusion, researchers noted the response time that would meet the expectation of at least 80% of customers. Their research found that:
- 13% chose two or more days
- 43% chose one day
- 14% chose four hours
- 19% chose one hour
Reaching a one-hour response time totaled 89% of customers’ expectations. Interestingly, 11% chose 15 minutes, which the researchers deem as the optimal time frame for “world-class customer service.”
They were also able to find some important demographic information about these results.
- 28% of Millennials expected a response in an hour or less
- 30% of Generation X expected a response in an hour or less
- 35% of Baby Boomers expected a response in an hour or less
However, there weren’t enough members of Generation Z (age 21 and under) or the Silent Generation (age 73 and over) to include in these demographics.
Regardless, while responding to every inquiry in five minutes may be unattainable, this research found that responding in an hour or less should be what all businesses aim for.
How to Improve Your Responsiveness
Responding to inquiries promptly has numerous benefits. Not only does it make sure that you are not losing any leads, but it also enables you to strengthen relationships with current clients by showing them you are reliable and are listening to them.
Taking the time to swiftly respond to a consumer’s response conveys that you value their time. In fact, a Forrester study found that 73% of consumers stated a business valuing their time is one of the most important things a company can do.
There are several things your business can do to improve how fast you respond to customer inquiries.
Include a Live Chat on Your Site
While email is a great way to connect with potential clients, it can make it difficult to respond quickly. However, being able to respond in real-time can have a drastic impact on lead retention. With real-time messaging, you can provide consumers with important information about your products and services while making them feel like a priority. You can use these chats to set up consultations and meetings to discuss business further. Try to make this live chat available 24 hours.
Make Social Media a Priority
Social media is a powerful tool that every business should take advantage of. It provides you with a space to advertise and connect with customers more than ever before. This space not only allows you to reach customers, but it allows them to reach you, as well. Keep your inbox open to allow consumers to message you directly. Make sure those in your business prioritize the messages and feedback you receive on social media, responding quickly.
Establish a Reliable Receptionist Team
While this may seem like an obvious tip to improve your level of responsiveness, it is incredibly important. Not everyone in your business can take the time to respond to every inquiry you receive. There is almost always other work that needs to be done. Your business should hire a receptionist or a team of receptionists who are tasked with responding to and redirecting inquiries. This allows them to answer calls and emails about your business to cut the wait time for consumers.
The goal of every business is to build leads to make purchases. While your marketing is key in creating a funnel of leads, it does not always mean there will be a conversion. Many consumers value responsiveness and won’t complete an action until they receive more information. This is why businesses need to prioritize responsiveness. ARYU Advertising understands how important responding to inquiries is and is prepared to help your business produce more conversions.