Companies don't respond because they're not even reading your e-mail

When I read about on this eGain study on the TSMI blog, I could feel the steam starting to come out of my ears:

First of its kind benchmarking study uncovers major shortfalls in email customer

service among small and medium-sized businesses

A stunning 51% of businesses failed to respond to emails with high-value

purchase intent in study conducted by BenchmarkPortal

Why? If a customer e-mails you wanting to buy your product, why on earth would the acceptable response be to ignore them? Please, please, please, don't be a part of this trend, whatever the size of your company, association, or meeting. Non-responsiveness is one of the biggest gripes both hotels and planners have against each other, and it's so easy to just pick up the phone or drop an e-mail. Even if you don't have the answers, isn't it just common courtesy to acknowledge the question and give an idea of when you'll get back to them? Can you even imagine not responding to an attendee trying to register for your program?

From this study, it sounds like the common practice isn't common courtesy among mid-sized companies (and we all have had that eternal hold experience with larger companies--this study says small and mid-sized companies are even worse!). What is it that makes people think this is OK? I don't get it. If someone calls or e-mails me with a request, I bust my hump trying to find the answer, or at least point toward someone else who might be able to figure out what I can't. Yes, it takes time. But it is one of the most important things you can do. People need to know they're being heard, and responded to, that you care about their business. I'm getting a little tired of writing about the basics of customer service, but it sounds like there's a big need to keep this in the forefront.

Whatever your specific industry/position/whatever is, I'm sure it's a lot more competitive than it used to be--everything seems to be, these days. Those who survive, much less thrive, will find that caring about customers is what pulls them to the top of the heap.

Sermon over (for now).

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