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Are your response times leaving customers feeling disappointed?

Now more than ever you need to monitor your staff’s performance and ensure leads are not being left unattended. At best they will go elsewhere; at worst they will go elsewhere AND tell everyone how disappointing your customer service was.

Recently we were able to identify some worrying trends in customer experience delivery amongst our estate agency clients, and quickly help them correct things when dealing with initial enquiries, whether via email or over the phone.

In pre-Covid times, estate agents managed to respond to 80% of email enquiries within 24 hours, now it is a frighteningly low 44%. Sadly, the current situation is not going away any time soon, as increased levels of online enquiry put all companies under pressure, and any hoping for “things to go back to normal” before they do customer satisfaction research are burying their heads in the sand and letting their customers down in the short term. 

Phone calls are not being handled much better with some companies putting in minimum effort to secure a customer’s business or make them feel valued. We are seeing very little pro-active sales efforts, few attempts to register customer details, and a lot of lost lead generation as a result.

Let's focus on online though as the urgent priority. Here’s how to ace it at incoming email enquiries:

  1. Acknowledgement

Online customers are the same as other customers. Just because they have chosen to contact you remotely, does not mean that they want you to be aloof with them! An automated message response is a professional tool to let your customer a) know their message has been safely received and b) set expectations for what will happen next. This is particularly important with web forms or emails to generic company addresses where customers often require reassurance that their enquiry has not been lost in the ether. If you are not using automated responses, make sure any online forms or emails are pointing to active, monitored email addresses so you don’t overlook any incoming enquiries.

  1. Speed of response and fact find

This initial acknowledgement must be quickly followed up by a personalised, grammatically correct, polite and empathetic response that either fully answers the initial enquiry or seeks to collect the extra information required to be able to do so.

  1. Customer choice

The message should be pro-active and ask for additional contact information such as a phone number, as well as inviting the customer to contact you in whichever way they feel comfortable. Do not assume that they will want to jump on a call with you - they did, after all, contact you online for a reason, but make sure you give them the choice.

  1. Explain why your company is special

This detailed response message is also a good opportunity to showcase why your company is different and highlight some of the benefits. It is helpful to have the key points brought together into an email that they will probably re-read and refer back to when making a decision about which company to give their business to.

  1. Build a rapport

Try not to overload with too much information but pick out what is likely to be important to that particular customer based on their initial message. Be a detective and try and put yourself in the customer’s position. Aim to show empathy and build a rapport whilst retaining professional distance and tone.

  1. Follow-up and sales progression

Ideally you would do this by phone AND by email. The customer may have approached several different brands. Do not pester them constantly but be helpful and available. Make sure your company’s name is at the forefront of their mind when it comes to progressing to the next step. It is best to have a defined process and frequency for this rather than ad hoc chasing when you remember to do it.

If you do get less than perfect results back from Mystery Shopping, don’t panic. It’s the ideal training tool, to help you identify and immediately fix the glitches, and get back to delivering a seamless customer experience, however your customers choose to contact you.

Do you want to see if the stats above apply to you? How are you faring with online customer response handling? Let’s find out - we are offering a FREE web enquiry to one site where you can choose the enquiry scenario.

FREE to all current Yomdel clients, and to prospective new clients, we're also offering this as part of our Autumn 2020 - Live Chat Money Back Guarantee Offer, but if you'd just like the FREE Mystery Shop Web enquiry, get in touch with me directly at fern.cunnell@yomdel.com.

 

Fern Cunnell

Written by Fern Cunnell

As Insight Services Manager, Fern is dedicated to providing clients with the tools and insights required to help deliver an outstanding customer experience. Fern joined Yomdel in 2015, working within the Mystery Shopping team. Initially working closely with shoppers, dealing with shop allocation and guiding shoppers through the process required to deliver a great mystery shop. Fern has now progressed to Insight Services Manager, working with clients to ensure they are being delivered the insight they need to make real positive differences to the customer service they offer.