Can you imagine a company turning away interested and ready customers? According to a 2005 study published by Benchmark Portal, many companies do just that–by ignoring inquiries they receive by email.
The study evaluated 147 small and medium-sized North American businesses in the retail, travel and hospitality, financial services, e-business, and high-tech manufacturing sectors, with annual revenues between $10 million and $250 million.
Researchers sent email messages in which they posed as customers and showed a clear intent to buy an expensive product or service.
Among the shocking results of the research:
- Responsiveness: 51% of companies did not respond at all.
Financial services companies had the worst response record, with 72% not responding at all to the inquiry. Retail companies also did bady, with 60% not responding at all.
- Quality of responses: 70% of companies responded inaccurately or incompletely.
Again performing horrendously, 89% of financial service companies that responded gave inaccurate or incomplete responses. High-tech manufacturing companies also performed dismally in this area, with 86% responding inaccurately or incompletely.
Do these statistics mirror your experiences? They do mine.
I recently emailed a Canadian furniture manufacturer and asked for the names of Seattle-area retailers who sold their line of couches. Although I was ready to buy, the response came several days later. It neglected to mention two Dania stores just 4 to 5 miles from my house but noted a Scan Design 15 miles away. (In Seattle traffic, this distance makes a big difference.)
I ended up buying the couch at the closest Dania, where I found the couches with no help from the manufacturer. Had I not already been sold on their couches (the only ones that would fit through the narrow door of my TV room!), I would certainly have gone elsewhere.
Is your company sending customers elsewhere? If you need help with your customer communications in email, contact EWrite, experts in online communication. I learned of the study above in EWrite’s excellent December newsletter.