It’s official: slow response times are the most frustrating fail of customer care. I’d beg to say no response times are worse. The point is, most customers expect an immediate response.
So, what’s considered “slow” in today’s customer support world? And how do you measure up? And how does being slow affect your revenue?
Read on to find out and to ensure you’re not killing your company’s customer experience (CX) with slow response times.
Consumer Expectations Are On The Rise
First, consumers are exhausted. We’ve spent the past two plus years dealing with the fallout of COVID, political and social discourse, labor and supply shortages. [READ OUR REPORT ON HOW COVID AFFECTED CUSTOMER CARE]
Many of your customers are now living the majority of their lives online. They are progressively discovering new brands, researching products, and making buying decisions on social media. As a result, they expect to be able to converse with brands for assistance on these same channels. Similarly, we can’t ignore that digital interactions between consumers and brands are sharply rising.
Third, instead of being more forgiving of companies that don’t meet consumers where they are, their expectations are skyrocketing.
Forbes lays out how these expectations are not being met by businesses.
… regardless of where they begin an interaction, 94% of consumers say they want seamless access to a customer service agent.”
In another recent survey, 90% of consumers said that getting an immediate response to their customer service questions is important or very important.
However, the majority of consumers still don’t think companies provide a positive customer experience. Why is that?
Because marketers are still not focused on customers’ experience!
Slow Response Times Are Killing CX
Your customers expect lightning-fast response times. And although the research is varied on the “right” response time, they make it clear that slow response times will turn even the most loyal customers away.
Here are a few statistics on response times:
- 90% of U.S. customers rate an immediate customer service response as “important” or “very important.” [source]
- 60% of people who needed support defined “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. [source]
- 71% of customers expect companies to communicate with them in real-time. [source]
- 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. [source]
Furthermore, according to Salesforce, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. And two-thirds of customers say they’re willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
Ready for the the disconnect? A report by Simplr showed that only 38% of companies measure resolution time on a consistent basis as a part of their CX program. Yikes!
You can see why this is a problem if it’s your customer’s biggest concern and one of your least-addressed CX issues. Stop letting slow response times kill your CX!
Improving Response Times
So, how can you rectify slow response times?
- Meet your customers where they are. Social-led customer care is one of the most effective channels to provide your customers with timely and easily accessible support.
- Provide self-service options like an FAQ page or a chatbot that can take care of some of your frequently asked questions (and do so 24/7 with 100% accuracy!).
- Decentralize customer service. This is critical now that customers are demanding smooth multichannel support. Sales, marketing, and social media are among the departments that should be included.
- Use social listening to collect voice of the customer (VOC) data. VOC data can be used to identify your brand’s health and sentiment scores, the most common FAQs, and allows for tagging support tickets by sentiment, product, acquisition/retention requests, and more.
And, you know, you can always hire us to ensure your customers are answered quickly, 365 days a year!
It is important to get this right because 59% of customers are more likely to buy when brands answer their queries in under a minute. By using the above tips, you can not only help retain the customers you do have, but show potential customers how your brand’s experiences far outweigh your competitors.
The Impact Faster Response Times Have On CX
Finally, let’s dissect what happens when you put an emphasis on CX and faster response times.
- Quicker resolution times. Sure, this is obvious. But knowing that almost 60% of customers are more likely to buy when you’re the fastest to reply should be reason enough!
- Better CX. Another obvious reward. Overall customer sentiment and satisfaction determine how happy your customers are. Offering faster response times with the requested solution will create a more positive brand image, which improves CX.
- New customers. Everyone assumes customer care only covers the customer. But it does more than that. It also includes responding quickly to would-be customers who want immediate answers to their pre-purchase questions. Which, if done well, can lead to more conversions.
As an aside, many marketing leaders don’t believe me when I say social-led customer care can lead to new business. In that case, I’ll give you some anecdotal evidence.
In 2021, we asked our customer care clients how much of their social chatter was acquisition (pre-purchase questions from would-be customers) or retention (post-purchase support questions from current customers). Each of them said 0-5% for acquisition.
But, they were wrong! ALL of them had at least 20% acquisition chatter month-over-month. One tech client of ours had over 70% acquisition chatter on four of their products lines month-over-month!
If we know that answering these pre-purchase questions quickly prompts 60% of that group to buy, what are we waiting for?!
I’m not great at math, but here’s that same scenario with numbers attached to it. Let’s take Product C, which had 70% of the incoming brand chatter on social media about this product consist of purchase questions.
Since we know the price of Product C, we can put dollar amounts to each of the conversations we tagged. Let’s pretend the sum of those conversations (70%) were equal to 1.2 million dollars in revenue.
If you were answering those questions quickly, with the correct solution, and maybe even offering an incentive to buy (discount, free shipping, etc.), wouldn’t you capture at least a portion of that revenue? Let’s say you captured a mere 10% of those conversations and customers purchased with your incentivized link.
That’s $120,000 in revenue for July! From organic social media! Just by being responsive!
Just Say NO To Being Slow
Slow response times are not only bad for CX, they’re bad for your bottom line.
And the risk to your brand comes with consequences like poor customer satisfaction and sentiment scores, negative reviews, etc. Therefore, fast customer care responses are vital for staying power.
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