Friday, January 14, 2011

We live in an age of instant response. If we want something, we want it NOW - not next week.

We live in an age of instant response. If we want something, we want it NOW - not next week.

My work with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) over the last 15 years has taught me the importance of a fast response to enquiries to ensure that prospects turn into customers.

I'm the first to hold up my hands and say that I don't always do it right, but I try my best!

I remember, back in 2000, listening to a presentation by one of the key global specialist in CRM. She described how mystery shopping was one of the roles they undertook on behalf of major corporate clients and laid out some of the results.

Now remember that this was in 2000 when the use of the Internet was substantially lower than it is now.

Her company ran an exercise responding to advertising that actively encouraged potential customers to contact them via their website by really making a big thing of their web address.

Back then the results were pretty appalling, with plenty of no-replies or replies that took more than 7 days. Both of which would have probably driven the potential customer to seek out an alternative supplier.

Things changed dramatically in the following 10 years and the value of web enquiries and an understanding of the need for rapid response has been understood. The value has even filtered down to micro businesses with a poor response being a rarity now.

10 years on and new ways of attracting customer response has emerged with the likes of Social Networking.

Many businesses, large and small, have clearly identified the potential provided by access to the communities created within networks like FaceBook and Twitter.

They have been building their pages and creating content, all of which generates interest and possibly enquiries too.

So if you, as a potential customer, read interesting stuff on FaceBook and would like to talk more about it, what would you do?

Would you go and find their website and fill in a contact form, call them or email them direct?

Or would you send them a FaceBook Message?

It's the last option that I took recently with a major business in Norwich - simply because it was so convenient within FaceBook at the time.

Did I get a response? Well, 2 weeks on and I still haven't heard from them and I've moved on.

10 years on and we haven't really progressed, it's just that the problem lays in a different contact area - oh dear....

If you actively market your business through social networking do you have a solid response mechanism to react quickly before you loose a sale?