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How can we respond more quickly?

There have been plenty of studies that show faster response gets massively more beneficial results. There is absolutely no debate that investing in this pays for itself. The questions are just: “How quickly is it possible for us to respond through that channel?” and “How can we make that happen?”

Customers rightly have different expectations of various communications channels. If someone emails us, they’re not going to be upset if they don’t hear back within the hour. But if they use our website’s chat service, they’ll be drumming their fingers against the desk after 30 seconds if nothing’s happened. So we need to look at the various channels individually. There are a number to consider, including:

  • Telephone enquiries (when the right person isn’t available)
  • Email enquiries
  • Web form enquiries
  • Social media enquiries
  • Webchat/Messaging service enquiries

In most cases, it might be appropriate to respond almost instantly, not to fulfil the request, but just to confirm the enquiry has been received and is being dealt with. As long as this reply doesn’t obviously come from a robot, it can buy time in a professional manner. Assuming a member of staff is involved, a change of medium for the reply can surprise the customer in a good way: I recently emailed an organisation and within a couple of minutes, received a telephone call thanking me for contacting them and saying that the appropriate person would be in touch soon. I was really impressed.