How quickly do you answer the phone when customers call you? Do you send them through a call tree first? When you get an email for a quote, do you reply back within minutes, hours, or days? What about inquiries online, such as Facebook Messenger or Google My Business? Do you have someone who monitors these channels to answer questions and book appointments with lightning speed?
More than ever before, fast response times make ALL the difference, setting your contracting team apart from competitors. This is especially true as your target audience begins to include the younger generation – one that’s quicker to send a text or direct message than to pick up the phone.
The 2020 version of “the early bird gets the worm” could be: the faster response time gets the lead and sale.
We’re Starting the Era of Messages Marketing
Have you noticed how many “chat” options are available now for customer service?
Amazon is one of the best, offering live chat around the clock with a REAL person. They “get” it! Apple is following suit as well, making it super easy to connect, ask a question, or get tech support.
Lead generation platforms like Facebook, Google, and Yelp are putting a higher premium on speedier responses, posting a company’s “average response time” for all the world to see. Today’s consumer sees this as a mark of your overall customer service, and you’re rewarded for taking it seriously.
Why Is This Such a Big Deal?
Here’s the key. Ready?
Consumers are doing their research online more than talking to friends, family, or neighbors when they need work done on their homes. They will read blogs, online reviews, check out your social profiles, watch videos, etc. Then, when they feel comfortable, they might pick up the phone, text, fill out a form, or chat with your company.
This lead germination period could take minutes, days, weeks, or months before a consumer will be ready to get an estimate – it’s hard to say, and depends on their specific sense of urgency and situation. We’ve also been hearing that consumers are not necessarily getting 3-5 bids anymore. Many of them are waiting to find a company that is responsive, professional, and offers peace of mind, start to finish.
So, the long game? Keep your content fresh, push those reviews, and keep a consistent, visible presence online.
The short game? Respond to inquiries FAST.
Getting Practical: What Should You Do?
The first step is to take this data seriously. It’s not a trend that’s going to fizzle, especially as the younger generation grows a bit older and will need your services. This is a new, growing market, and it’s not going anywhere.
That’s right: you’ll be providing services for millennials soon, if not already!
The second step? Create more ways to connect directly with customers: live chat, email inquiries, Facebook Messenger, direct texting, and Google My Business. This is how the majority of your customers will want to connect – most aren’t thumbing through the yellow pages and calling you directly anymore.
Finally, staff those outlets! Realistically, the majority of our clients can’t have a team (or even one office person) dedicated to handling message and text conversations. We get that. But, it IS important to have a system in place for DAILY checks and responses. And, if a client fills out an email form, let them know how quickly you’ll respond. Setting those expectations is essential.
If you can’t handle it all in-house, you may want to outsource it, like a call center for text and direct message leads.
Stay Tuned for More Conversations!
This is such an important topic – too much for one blog. We’ll be sharing more content soon, including a tighter focus on major opportunities like Facebook Messenger, SMS messaging, and more.
Have a question in the meantime? Let us know!