The critical role response time plays in business

Getting a potential customer to contact your business seems like a constant battle. You’ve invested time and resources into strong branding and marketing to get your business out there and noticed.

But once a customer contacts your business, the way you respond to their enquiry will be the point of difference in landing the sale. Otherwise, you risk the customer choosing to deal with another supplier.

In our on-the-go society, we need things to happen quickly and promptly. Think back to the last time you contacted a business and they took too long to respond. Whether it was in person, over the phone, by email or a website contact form, you probably became frustrated that your enquiry wasn’t answered immediately.    

So it will come as no surprise that, on average, 80 percent of people will not choose your business if you’re too slow to respond to their enquiries. This outcome is worse for businesses in Hobart and Wollongong with 90-100 percent of people opting to work with another business.

Research conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that if you respond to a lead within an hour you will generate seven times more conversions, but only 37 percent of companies manage to respond in this timeframe.

In fact, the average business actually takes four hours to respond and more than 50 percent of businesses don’t follow up at all.

With response time being the main determinant to choosing a supplier, the next factor hindering your sales success is your first point of contact. Four out of five people do not want voicemail or the phone to ring-out when they try to call your business the first time.

When seeking information about your product and services, people want to speak to an assistant/receptionist or leave a message with a colleague as this enables them to get a quicker response to their enquiry.

Servcorp has found that prospective customers are seven times more likely to leave an enquiry if you have a dedicated receptionist or call handling setup. Whereas, 40 percent of people will not leave a voicemail if no one is there to pick up the phone. The vast majority won’t try to call back later.

So if you’re wondering why your competitor is doing so well, your prospective customer may have tried contacting you first but ended up getting a quicker response from them.

Servcorp can make sure that no customer’s call goes unanswered. As part of their serviced and virtual office packages, they can offer you a local business telephone number and a dedicated receptionist to manage your calls and greet your guests.

This content is powered by our partners at Servcorp. Together with Roy Morgan Research they put together this white paper on First Impressions and what Small Business Owners can implement within their companies to ensure that they are always giving a good one.

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Chloe Potvin
Chloe Potvin is the former small business editor for Kochie's Business Builders.