First Reply: Does Quick Response Help Increase Sales?

How to convert more customers? There are as many answers as many times this question appears in your mind. In the best-case scenario, you understand customer motives and behavior, and during this process learn what your client wants from your product or service. And vu'a la - you uncovered the secret of successful sales.

When done correctly, the tested research on customer behavior may work, but you (like many other businesses) have many clients who buy from your brand, and it’s doubtedly you know each personally. Despite the fact that people are different, there are many cases they tend to react in the same manner.

Imagine a situation: you want to buy some product and have a question, and type an email request or message in live chat support. How will the speed of the first reply impact on your buying decision? Fascinating, right? From there challenge yourself, how can the speed of the first reply increase your sales? Let’s figure this out. The question is indeed worth investigating.

Analyze in a little more depth

Let’s take some peak into the Lead Response Management Study done by professor James Oldroyd. It is not the latest, it was done in 2007, but things from that time change rather in terms of expecting even faster and more efficient customer service.

Obviously, the speed of the first reply may improve the lead qualification and close rates. The delayed response in 30 rather than 10 minutes is prone to drop 4,3% of qualified leads, and the close rate falls almost on 2%. Besides, the more unproductive contact attempts also lead to cut down qualification and close rate. The study shows that companies who decreases the contact attempts to only one and reply within ten not 30 minutes improve their lead qualification in 26% and the close rate increases 9,09%.

To finding of the study showed that sales manager gets higher chances to acquire a qualified lead if contacted within 5 minutes. Moreover, that lead is 21 times more likely to buy from the company. After the current lead response report, the assumptions made above are still true.

Is The first reply fast enough?

If you thought that all companies are applying best practices, and replying their potential customers as fast as they can (read immediately), then we are going to disappoint you: they do not respond nearly fast enough. To conquer your skepticism, the post “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads” in HBR (March 2011 Issue) accentuates the problem of underrating the importance of the lead response time.

The investigation of how long does it takes to send first reply to a test lead in 2,241 companies. 37% stated that they respond in an hour, 16% said that they require from one to 24 hours, 24% of companies it takes more than 24 hours, and 23% don’t respond at all. The result of the average response time was quite intriguing - 42 hours for companies that send a reply to their customers-to-be within 30 days.

The speed of reply depends on the industry

Ask yourself: does the response time have anything to the industry company works in? The research proves that time has a direct connection. The numbers presented are the average time the companies answered to the researchers.

Software industry answers in 1 hour and 5 minutes, retail in 1 hour and 55 minutes, while manufacturing requires 1 hour 51 minutes. Healthcare takes 2 hours and 5 minutes to reply, and education and finance are answering in 56 minutes. Business services are faster, and they need 44 minutes. Media and internet replies in 35 minutes and the fastest is telecommunications - 16 minutes.

Why does response time matter?

Now let’s turn back to the Lead Response Management Study, the researchers audited data offered by six companies over 3 years. There is no easy way to speed up your first reply time, but the result of the investigation will enable useful, workable insights to accelerate sales.

Plan your week to follow up leads
Choose Wednesday and Thursday to get in touch, and avoid Tuesdays as the researchers state these are the worst days.

The best day for lead qualification
Thursdays are preferable to Tuesdays for qualifying the lead. And the study says that will be 19,1% effective in numbers.

Be attentive to time you contact the leads
So, the best time to get in touch with your future customer is from 4 to 6 pm, while qualifying the lead has two options: from 8 to 9 am and from 4 to 5 pm. In point of fact, you may combine and contact within 4 to 5 pm, and next day contact from 11 to 12 am for the qualification.

Everything sounds very bright and useful, but in the real world people don’t write or call you in that most suitable days, they do it when it is convenient for them. That’s why you are better to put emphasis on the speed of the first reply to your prospect customers despite the day of the week and time. Just keep in mind: the sooner, the better.

What does this data tell?

To succeed in business, you should create tangible, lasting connections with the customers and meet their expectation for the fast first reply. The analyzed studies show that the quick responses deliver more closed sales. The delays may be explained as the next:

  • Sales manager doesn’t get the request, email or call from marketing automation or help desk platform.
  • The request for customer-to-be has, but the sales manager is away or didn’t notice it.
  • The company lacks the setup lead follow up and qualification process.
  • The lack of team interest in fast responses.
  • Marketing, sales, and support teams work separately.

Now more than ever market offers various solutions, tools, integrations or migration services if you need to change current platform for a more suitable to your business needs one. Adding gamification elements that will inspire to respond faster to leads and customers in ten minutes or less. In that line of thought, the mentioned above potential issues can be fixed.

In the end, this much is clear the importance of first reply time underestimated by many companies from various industries. And the answer to a question: “Does Quick Response a Secret to Increase Sales?” will be “Yes, it has a significant influence.”

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