It is a statistical fact that only 7% of businesses respond to sales inquiries or on-line lead forms within the first 5 minutes. This translates, often, into those rapid responders gaining or retaining customers because response time is one of the top 6 customer satisfaction indicators. If you make people wait they will not come back AND they will find someone else!
While this is obviously important to the sales department in a company, it should be equally important to the executive and leadership teams of any organization. Quick response to any request promotes a high level of ‘customer satisfaction’ both outside of and within an organization. No one becomes happier and more enthusiastic the longer they are kept on hold and listening to staticky music while being reminded how much their patience is appreciated… at least, no one I know.
Unless there is a VERY compelling reason (power grid failure, plague, etc.) requests for decisions, information and answers should be met as quickly as possible; immediately. I understand bureaucracy and how slow it can move. Perhaps fixes are in order for that and should always be investigated and changed if need be. Most often though, a rapid acknowledgement is better than a well thought out and researched answer that is too late to be relevant.
If someone asks you something, then they had a reason which is important to THEM. Understanding why the request is important may help motivate you. Don’t attach your value to another person’s request. Your response time indicates exactly how important that person is to you.
Some things to consider to optimize your response time:
- Attach people, not only tasks, to requests.
- Handle emails once. Do not glance at an email and then ‘save it for later’. Respond now.
- Include time in your schedule to respond to people.
- Determine what is appropriate response time, stick to it and work to improve it.
If you decide not to pay attention to responding to people in a considerate and timely way then, at least, find some good music for them to listen to while they are ‘on hold’ waiting for you; if they don’t hang up first.