A common complaint: “I never hear back from them.”
Hey, if you have computers and are paying for Internet access, the cost of email is fixed. It’s not like expensive telephone time. It costs no more to send one hundred emails than it does to send two. Still, people are slow to answer email. Cost isn’t the problem.
The problem is lack of training.
Want to diffuse a lot of potential anger and frustration? Just ANSWER email. When customers email you, they are saving YOU time and money. Do you want them screaming at you over the phone? Just ANSWER them.
Everyone should review their email once every hour and REPLY to everyone requiring a reply. This is EASY if you know how.
Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I had conference calls, client meetings, things to ship and difficulties with vendors. My wife called from her work—she needed help with an Access problem (avoid VISTA). FEDEX delivered an expensive item to the grocery store rather than my home. The dogs were going nuts from a slowly-passing thunder storm. It wasn’t an easy day. In the middle of the chaos, I received an email from a prospective new client who wanted to discuss having me come to his business. The dogs were barking, I had coffee orders to ship and I was trying to locate a “delivery” in time for a 2:00 meeting.
Okay, you’ve got the picture. So I should wait to respond to this new customer until things settle down, right? Do things ever settle down? Not for me.
I replied, “Thank you for contacting me! I have a few things to conclude this morning and am happy to call today after 3:00 if that works for you. I really look forward to speaking with you.”
Immediately I received the reply, “Wow! Thanks for the quick response. Around 4:00 works best for me.” We talked at 4:00. I booked the day.
Understand a few points. NEVER say you’re busy. Keep that damned word “busy” out of your vocabulary. Do you want to hear, “I’m too busy for you?”
Respond quickly. Again, I didn’t have the time to get into details or offer a “sales pitch”. I simply said I would call later.
DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES. Excuses teach the customer that you do not accept responsibility. They think, if a problem comes up they’ll get excuses. Notice that I didn’t make an excuse to call later, I gave a reason. An excuse would sound like this, “I can’t talk now because I have too many things to do.” “Can’t” makes it negative. Yes! I’m happy to call you at 3:00. BIG difference.
Shameless Promotion: Most managers have no idea how important this is. If you give me a couple of days to work with your people—including management—the return to your company will be huge. People talk. When they get good service that talk is free advertising. When they get bad service, they talk. That talk spreads and deeply hurts the business. It’s just foolish NOT to do this. It’ll cost you about $2500 to have me work this through your business.
The return on investment is huge. That’s it. Businesses spend more on laptops that return less. Call me. Let’s get to work. If your business is in the U.S., I’ll travel on my dime. I’m that serious about this. (650) 823-2803 If you’re not happy, don’t pay me.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog