I read a great report the other day about how many companies mishandle online customer inquiries. The report reflected some of my experiences when speaking with new prospects. A few times after calling a company within a couple hours upon receiving their “contact us” inquiry through our website, the prospect told me how surprised they were that I called so quickly. They expressed their frustration with other companies taking days to weeks returning their requests.
It surprises me that companies seeking new business would delay contacting a new prospect. Like with building any relationship, the time you take responding establishes a level of respect and trust between you and the other party. A delay, whether consciously or unconsciously committed, is easily perceived as either laziness or a nonchalant attitude towards starting or maintaining the relationship.
Especially during the initial sales process, prompt communications and a sense of urgency (like the prospect is your main priority for that moment in time) establishes a solid foundation from which to build a long-term and strong relationship. In essence, responding promptly to an online inquiry is a virtual form of active listening. You’re hearing the prospect or customer speak and you’re taking action to communicate relevantly to their input.
Respond quickly to online inquiries and set the stage for the relationship. Prospects and customers remember those seemingly small things when it comes time to do business and make referrals.