Time is everything these days.
In an increasingly connected world, having a service that provides a quick, or even immediate, response is fundamental. This is no longer only a suggestion or option for companies, but a requirement. Not having fast response times often means losing customers.
For a customer, there is a substantial difference between receiving an answer after a few minutes, or a few hours, or receiving the same answer after a week. The timing of the response totally changes the customer’s perspective and perception towards the brand.
Lead and response time, let’s define them
In our last article we talked about what a lead is. In brief, within the purchasing funnel a prospect expresses its interest in the services/ products of the company by providing its personal data: from that moment, the prospect becomes a lead. Often, this action is performed mostly online, with the data that are provided by prospects through the compilation of a form, the subscription to a newsletter or through a simple request for information via email.
On the other hand, when we talk about response time, we refer to the number of minutes between the moment a prospect leaves its personal data to the company (a clear signal of interest) and the first point of contact in which he/she will be qualified, contacted to make an appointment and then get the product/ service. A quick response to the lead and the ability to do it through the right channel, with the right message and the optimal content, at the right time, are the keys that determine, or compromise, the success of a brand.
Why is lead response time important?
When the problem is a slow response time
Although one of the main objectives of companies is to respond quickly to their customers, often times this does not happen.
A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that:
- 37% of companies respond within an hour to their customers;
- 16% responds between 1 hour and 24 hours;
- 24% takes more than 24 hours to respond;
- 23% don’t answer at all.
The average response time is 42 hours. This is far too long since even just a few minutes can make a big difference. The options available today are many, and the speed with which you respond has become a determining requirement for companies.
Time turns the leads from lukewarm to cold
Time worsens the quality of the lead and decreases the probability of having a contact with the prospect. In fact, quality a lead can quickly become a bad lead if it does not receive an appropriate response in time. Between 35% and 50% of sales are made by companies that respond quickly or first. High quality service and a good price might not be enough if you are dealing with competitors who respond before us.
The 5-minute rule
Although it sounds crazy, the ideal time to respond to a lead is 5 minutes – a window of time that gives you the upper hand as a company. When you answer in the first 5 minutes, your chances of having a first contact is 100 times higher than if you respond after an hour.
And again: contacting a lead in the first 5 minutes increases the chances of qualifying it and arriving at a conversion 21 times more than a contact made after 30 minutes.
Drop-out rate puts customer journey at risk
If response times are poor, the drop-out rate can increase up to 15%. In addition, this risk of customer abandonment can trigger a domino effect that could damage the entire customer journey, making it less effective.
If you don’t get answers in a satisfactory time, 30% of people will change their minds and go to a competitor. Or one might even share their negative experience with other potential customers, which would lead to even more serious repercussions.
Shorter response time = higher gain
A shorter lead response time determines the first impression of customers, and has proven to have a positive impact on the conversion rate.
However, for most companies improving this response time remains a barrier due to lack of resources (staff, time or budget). Obstacles that should be overcome because one of the most important advantages of this speed is an important increase of the ROI.
And these difficulties can be eliminated thanks to new technologies, and Artificial Intelligence in particular.
AI helps you respond faster to leads
One of the reasons why many companies do not respond quickly to their leads is precisely because they do not have the right technology. At the operational level, due to lack of staff or time, processes are slow and often congested. Bottlenecks can be created and leads end up being queued for too long.
We have seen in this article how it is of utmost importance to respond within the very first few minutes. And thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), companies can be more efficient in lead response times and increase sales.
AI allows you to reach prospects faster and follow in the purchase path of leads that have shown interest, limiting the customer abandonment rate. To give a practical example, if a prospect within its own purchasing funnel performs an action that signals interest in a company at 3 am, it will have to wait at least 6 hours to receive a reply from the company during regular operating hours. With AI you can cut down your time and contact the customer immediately and automatically, greatly increasing the conversion rate.
To understand which lead is really interested in our services it is necessary to do exploratory researches. Klondike’s algorithms help us, providing support to understand the real needs of customers, which solution is right for them and above all which lead is more targeted with our products.
Not only that, because you can get that information you need to qualify leads without doing any research, saving valuable time.
If you are curious and want to know more, contact us.