Do You Want to Know How to Increase Sales? Be Responsive to Inquiries!
Last week, I was stuck in Groundhog Day: Poor customer service and lack of response from one company after another. No response to web contact inquiries (three out of three companies never responded to my inquiries for services), calls not returned and in one case a company sent me a customer satisfaction survey and wanted feedback on my experience for a product that was still on backorder.
In each case I was not only waiving my hands but also jumping up and down and shouting: “I’m ready to buy” just send me your price.
It amazes me the lack of responsiveness from businesses when they receive inquiries. To assist, here are some basic tips and reminders for gaining new business.
Respond Immediately to Every Inquiry
For phone inquiries, make sure your initial point of contacts understands what information to collect, how to direct the calls and if a person is not available immediately to take the call, find out the best time and number for a call back. Make sure your sales or customer service person calls at the appointed time.
For any email or contact form inquiries from your site make sure you respond immediately to acknowledge the inquiry, even if it is with an automated response. In the response thank them for their inquiry, a time frame of when you will contact them (i.e., within the hour, day or the next 24 hours) and how you will contact them (via phone, email, text, etc.).
Respond to them based on their preference. If they provide you with a phone number call them. If it is an email address, send them an email and answer their question and provide help and guidance related to their inquiry. If you cannot help them, because it is not your niche, direct them to a resource or company that can offer assistance.
If possible consider using a live chat option. Your goal is to be responsive and helpful with your assistance and guidance.
Automate Your Inquiry Process
When you have a contact form on your web page make sure you have a system in place to respond to every inquiry. How much time and money do you invest in your website? That investment is all for naught when a visitor never receives a response to an inquiry. He or she just moves onto your competitor.
Technology allows you to setup an automated response or series of automated response to inquiries and you can do it for less than $20 per month using a service like AWeber or MailChimp.
Either of these mail services (there are others out there but many are more expensive) allows you to write and schedule a series of automated emails that are sent out according to a predetermined schedule.
When writing the emails, do not make them about you your services or products, but rather, sharing guidance and help based on the inquiry. For example if you provide Pool Maintenance Services and a customer sends an inquiry about a problem with a pool by all means help them with their specific problem, but have a workflow (series of automated emails) focused on pool care (i.e., 5 tips for Maintaining Crystal Clear Water all Season, How to Lower Your Pool Chemical Costs this Season, How to Extend the Life of Your Pool filter, How to Extend the Life of Your Pool Liner, etc.). This example can easily be extended to a Heating and Air company, Attorney, Realtor, etc.)
Build Relationships, Build Trust
The goal is to engage visitors and new contacts and build a relationship and trust with them. Not responding at all destroys your credibility and trust. You build trust by being helpful, providing guidance, being reliable, responsive and up front and honest with prospective customers.
Strive to be the best and be thankful when your competitors set the bar low. It makes you shine that much brighter.