Repeat business is key to the success of practically every enterprise in existence. But to have repeat business, you must first keep your customers satisfied. Customers will often contact you for a variety of reasons. Some will need help to complete a purchase, a few will have specific questions (warranties, discounts, and the like), and many more will want to complain about one thing or another.
Customers will contact you through a variety of options. Depending on individual preferences and the specific issue they want addressed, customers will contact you through a variety of means:
- Customers with more pressing concerns (order completion, billing inquiries, etc) will often use live chat or call you directly.
- Those with more general enquiries that don’t need immediate attention might shoot you an email or message you through social media channels.
Depending on the mode of communication used, customers expect you to reply to them within certain timeframes. Someone sending you a physical letter in the mail will be more patient compared to someone calling you directly.
Callers expect an immediate response. In fact 11% of them wouldn’t tolerate having to wait for any length of time. 44% would only hold for two minutes and only 29% would consider holding for more than two minutes.
Due to technical and payroll limitations, you won’t always be able to respond to every call the instant it comes in. Customers will often have to spend some time on the line waiting for someone to pick their calls. While hiring more people to handle calls faster is the best option from a customer service perspective, it may not always make financial sense.
Here are a few things you can do to speed up the process:
- Use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software to classify and handle common requests.
- Show customers the estimated amount of time they can expect to wait for an agent to sell them.
- Tell customers to leave a number for an agent to call them back instead of having to wait on hold.
Customers contacting you via live chat expect an immediate response as well. You can smooth out the process by integrating a chatbot to provide instant replies 24/7. The chatbot can deal with common inquiries while the more novel ones are forwarded to a human.
Customers contacting you via email are more patient than callers and those using live chat. While some customers are still OK with 24-hour responses, 31.2% expect to be answered in an hour or less so one to two hour-responses should be standard.
It’s also a good practice to resolve customer issues as completely as possible within one email. A back and forth exchange of emails only makes sense when replies are instant. A customer who has to wait a couple of hours for a response will be extremely frustrated by the third email.