I recently received an email update from Hubspot broadcasting a “[compilation of] 101 marketing charts and graphs based on original research and data…from our 2,500 business customers.” Intrigued, I downloaded the slides and skimmed the data, collected from over 11 individual studies.
The presentation that snagged my interest was Real-Time Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. He contacted all Fortune 100 companies and measured their response time. Taking into account these companies’ sizes and responsibilities, I was still shocked to discover that over half of the companies, 61%, did not respond. Of the 39% that did respond, the average time was one to three days.
Of the companies with the fastest response times, Hewlett-Packard, Publix Super Markets, and State-Farm Insurance all responded within 1-2 hours. The company that took the dubious honor of slowest response time [at least they returned the call!] was Kraft Foods, with a response time of two weeks.
What can we learn from these results? First, that our leading businesses are still in dire need of efficient customer service. Second, that standard models of business need to be redefined to take “real time engagement” into account.
As I’ve expressed in previous blogs, social media has presented customers with the opportunity to expect real time – immediate – responses. The old way of sending out press releases or company statements – where they would have to be proofread and approved by a legal department – is not viable. These companies understand the risks social media invites [loss of control over company image], but rather than embrace better customer service, they avoid these mediums.
Another option is capitalizing “silence” – such as waiting on hold or in a waiting room. Through video, audio greetings, or visual print, you can share information with your data-hungry customers. By allocating resources efficiently, businesses can use the power of voice and media to provide solutions for their customers.
What are some ways your business provides customer service in a unique way?