If you were in a shop and asked a member of staff a question, how long would you stand there and wait for their help? No-one likes to feel like a lemon offline and research suggests we don’t like to be hanging fruit online either.
Lifestyles Online the pan European data capture agency, has conducted research with 7637 consumers on their expectations on response rates to online enquiries.
The results suggest businesses need to respond to online enquiries within at least 24 hours to retain their customers.
If making an online enquiry, with a specific product question or request, 84% said they would like a response within at least 24 hours. Just 16% felt that a response after 24 hours was satisfactory.
And although the majority, 49%, expect a response within 24 hours, 36% consider an answer within the hour more timely.
If you contact a business via their website with a specific product request (not a newsletter sign up form or customer service) how long before you expect a reply?
Within 24 hours – 49%
15 minutes – 17%
After 24 hours – 16%
Half an hour – 10%
An hour – 9%
The research went on to question how long people are prepared to wait, after making an online enquiry, before they contact a competing business. Again consumers demand a speedy reply with 42% claiming to shop elsewhere after an hour.
If you have made an online enquiry with a business how long are you prepared to wait before you make similar enquiries with a competing business?
Within 24 hours – 44%
15 minutes – 19%
After 24 hours – 15%
An hour – 12%
Half an hour – 11%
And if online queries are ignored that could prove the end of any business with that customer. 85% of consumers say that if their contact is ignored they will not bother with that same business again.
If you have made an online enquiry with a business and they don’t get back to you, do you contact that same business again?
No – 85%
Yes – 15%
Craig Carr, co-founder and Director of Lifestyles Online, comments, “A business wouldn’t survive very long if it ignored customers’ questions on the shop floor. The same is now true online, as this research proves. Online leads, whether gathered from your website or captured externally, have a real prospect behind them and need treating as such. In fact we encourage, and facilitate, real time responses to all online requests.”