Customer expectations are high in today’s “instant” society. Quick – if not immediate – responses are the standard for success in business. Let’s take a closer look at how to be more responsive to your customers so you can boost customer loyalty and gain the competitive advantage.
What Customers Expect
A recent poll showed that 33% of consumers surveyed expected responses from small businesses within an hour. An even more crucial statistic from the same study shows that over half of customers will definitely go elsewhere if a business takes 6 hours or more to respond.
Faster response times are the number one way to improve customer service according to a study by Zingle.
Clearly, becoming more responsive to your customers is a goal worth your time and effort.
How Businesses Respond to Customers
Today’s businesses use a combination of phone calls, emails, text messaging, and social media to communicate with customers. The question is: Are you using the best communication method to connect with your customers?
A majority of consumers prefer email communication (57%), followed by phone (50%), and text (27%). But if your target customer is between ages 18 to 34, they’re less likely to prefer phone and are more in favor of text (42%) (Source).
How well does your business handle customer communication? Surprisingly, 60% of businesses don’t respond to customer service emails. Worse, 90% don’t even acknowledge that a customer’s email has been received (Source).
These striking statistics show us two opportunities for small businesses today:
- Improve customer loyalty by understanding your target market and adapting your communication methods according to their preferences.
- Gain a significant competitive advantage by increasing responsiveness.
3 Tips to Becoming More Responsive to Customers
How fast should you respond to customers? As fast as possible!
Here are a few tips to help you improve your response time.
1. Find out what your customers want.
The first step in meeting customer expectations is knowing what those expectations are. Start by defining your target market. Then ask your existing customers what their preferences are for communicating with your business. Consider sending an email survey or having your sales team make survey phone calls.
Some questions you might ask:
- Have you been happy with the speed of our responses to your inquiries?
- Would you prefer to deal with a chatbot online instead of a person on the phone?
- Is text messaging more convenient for you than a phone call?
2. Manage customer expectations.
It’s difficult to keep response times to a minimum across all channels simultaneously – especially for small businesses. Manage customer expectations by directing them to the best channel for their needs.
A few ways you can do this:
- Use Auto-Attendant, Smart Queues or Call Forwarding to direct phone calls to the appropriate extension or team members.
- Customize voicemail greetings to inform callers of business hours, availability, or to instruct them to include specific details in their message so you can better address their needs.
- Create automated email, text, or social media responses to show customers you’ve received their message and to let them know when and how they can expect to hear back from you.
3. Prepare your team.
A well-trained and empowered employee is a confident employee. And a confident employee results in excellent customer service. Take the time to properly train your team and develop a comprehensive and easy-to-use knowledge base or manual.
Setting goals for how your business responds to customers is a good way to motivate your team and give everyone something measurable to work toward. You might set different response times for each communication channel or department. (For example, technical support might require a faster response than sales. Text messaging probably demands a quicker response than emails.)
Become More Responsive to Your Customers
To maintain customer loyalty and gain the competitive advantage, you must focus on becoming more responsive to your customers.
At Skyway West, we’ve worked hard with our partners to come up with solutions to support small businesses in this area. Our technology can empower your team to be more responsive to customers through many features including:
Become more responsive to your customers today. Contact a Skyway West specialist to find out more.