Thursday, September 4, 2014

Real-Time Responses

I have been contacting this particular company I want to do business with since April 2014 - 6 months ago. I have emailed four different people and even reached out to someone I know who personally works for the company. Yes, I am persistent because I want to do business with this company, but it made me wonder how many leads a business can lose everyday just because no one was able to write a quick email response, return a voicemail, or follow up with someone.

I know I have done it before - we get so busy with our work life + personal life that our inboxes just seem like bottomless pits. I myself have two company emails, an email for my other job, an email for an organization I volunteer with, and a personal email (heaven help me, I know). Most days, combined, I have over 1000 emails to scroll through and choose from. Do I get to all of them? No. Do I want to get to all of them? Sometimes. Are there important things that I miss? Most definitely. Do I regret it? You bet.

On another note, I'm addicted to my phone. Between facebook, five emails, snapchat, and text messages...I'm surprised I have a husband sometimes. All in all though, I'm working on a few things:

  • Real time responses are quintessential in business. 
    • Even if you just shoot back a quick email saying "received, will send full response later" or "received, will follow up" or whatever - take the moment to respond instantly. People respect that you are attentive to them and know they are on your list of "important people" or "people to respond to".
      • Note: make sure you go back and mark the email as unread or flag the email so when you have the time to respond, you do it.
  • Set aside time daily for touching base with people.
    • You can even break it down. 
      • For example:
        • 12:00-12:30pm Listen to voicemails, take brief notes, list in order of urgency
        • 12:30-1:00pm Return all calls or respond to their inquiry/need 
        • 1:00-1:30pm Check all social media outlets, create posts, respond to comments/questions
        • 1:30-2:00pm Make all important calls that I need to make
        • 2:00-2:30pm Check emails, make responses
    • I know this is easier said than done. I will try it tomorrow and every day after that though. I believe if you schedule in your response times, people will see you care. They don't need to know your schedule but at least they know you are consistent and will respond between the hours of 12-3pm daily. Consistency matters!

Even if it is a quick "received" message in response, people want to know that there is a human on the other end of that voicemail message or email address. Prove to your customers that you care, value them, and want their business. And don't forget that this can extend into your personal life as well - by scheduling ourselves correctly, we can ensure a healthy balance in life and work. And after all, that's what we all crave, isn't it?

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