The Internet has almost certainly done more to help small companies compete with global giants than any other innovation over the last hundred years. It has also had the unfortunate side effect of creating a market that customers expect to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dealing with enquiries 24 hours day can be a difficult task for small business owners. Fortunately, there have been a number of technological innovations in recent years that mean it is a challenge to which you should be able to rise if you are on the ball.
If you think that you might be losing custom because people are too impatient to wait for you to answer their emails or pick up the phone, the ideas below may be worth considering.
1. Hiring people to man a Live Chat service on your website – whilst it would probably be far too costly for you to hire a full-time employee to take calls and answer emails outside of normal business hours, you should be able to offer a Live Chat facility on your site for a fraction of the cost of taking on another worker.
2. Subscribing to a telephone answering service such as ours. Having phone calls answered by a real person rather than a machine can make a huge difference to the impression that potential clients form about your company when they try to get in touch.
3. Using the auto respond feature on your email client. Whilst it might not be the most sophisticated way to tackle the issue, just the fact that they receive an immediate acknowledgement to their emails may encourage prospective customers to exercise more patience.
Whichever solutions you try, remember to keep records so you can accurately assess their effectiveness over a period of time.