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Response time is money 13 February, 2007

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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In our current business climate, doing business on an international scale, competing with many differing cultures we need to be even better at responding rapidly to every request.

I meet a wide range of companies in different market sectors and am surprised at the poor rate of response to everyday enquires. Time is of the essence and a poor response time will be an indicator to potential customers of your professionalism. Customers at the very first contact with your company will use every interaction to build up a picture of your company and what it will be like doing business with you.

You should build a simple tracking system to record and measure all enquires, requests and support questions to ensure each is responded to in a rapid timeframe. Your first response does not need to answer the question fully but an acknowledgment of the enquiry, an estimate of how long it will take to formulate a answer and who will call back are reasonable initial responses. Of course your full response must be a quality one, speed of execution is important, but poor rushed answers are still poor answers.

If you fail to respond, don’t worry someone, somewhere will answer for you and it will likely be a competitor. Many important business opportunities have been lost this way.

In the global market where business cultures differ widely, you should not ignore the cultural expectations of your potential customers. In some regions it’s not uncommon to expect 24 hour access to suppliers and immediate responses to important questions.

Speed of response to these customers is an important measure of internal organisation as well. Are you structured to respond to customers, do you measure response times, are you looking into improving your performance?

How you respond to your customer is a good indicator of how you will do business, how quickly you will deliver products, how quickly you will support your customer and how then can come to rely on your service.

Focus on response time will drive your business.

Greville Commins

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