Quick Phone Response Times Win Customers

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Think responding to customer phone calls is less important than in-store customer service? Think again.

According to a 2012 consumer survey conducted by voice-marketing automation company Ifbyphone, customers on hold for more than a minute are less likely to buy from or refer a particular brand. An impressive 59 percent are more likely to buy from highly responsive brands, and a whopping 73 percent of customers are likely to recommend the responsive brands to others.

When asked if customers had ever switched brands due to poor response time, 44.4 percent reported that they had. An additional 33.7 percent say they would have switched brands if there weren’t restrictions.

“If a prospect can’t talk to the right person immediately, your chances for making that sale are dramatically reduced,” says Ifbyphone CEO Irv Shapiro. “These results show that delayed connections not only lose sales, but also seriously jeopardize the company’s ability to generate brand advocacy.”

Few Businesses Consider Response Time

It’s important to set your business apart by making sure your staff responds quickly. The problem is also more widespread than many brands may realize. While 51 percent of sales calls are answered within a minute, only 21.5 percent of customers receive the same treatment. In their last calls, 78.6 percent reported being on hold for more than a minute.

According to Ifbyphone, some companies respond to customer calls within seconds. Radio Shack, grocery chain Wegmans and 7-Eleven all respond within an average of three seconds. Some of the more unresponsive companies include Ikea, Apple and Ruddick Corp (Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc.), with Apple and Ruddick Corp taking more than three minutes to speak with their customers.

Karli Petrovic is associate editor of Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center. You can eMail her at kapetrovic@meistermedia.com.
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