You count the days on your calendar, track your package every 10 minutes, the day finally comes and you almost leap out of your chair to answer the door... IT'S HERE.
The brand new (refurbished, money doesn't grow on trees) phone you ordered!
You plug that bad boy in, and wait... and wait... and wait... but it doesn't turn on.
At this point, you realize you are going to have to go down that dreaded rabbit hole, and get in touch with the vendor. Cursing them and regretting your purchase already, you type out a hasty email explaining what's wrong.
At this point, things can go either way.
Patience is thin when you could already be posting sweet selfies and scrolling through Instagram on your shiny new purchase. Everything rests on the response - not only the content, but also the speed. No one wants to wait around for days with no idea if they're ever going to hear back.
This is a real experience I had, and luckily I got a prompt response and replacement, but I was already looking up my PayPal dispute rights and looking for alternatives.
Whether it's Sales, Customer Service, or any other kind of email communication, not leaving people waiting is a huge mark of trustworthiness, and can be the difference between happy clients and coworkers, or me vengefully opening a 6000 word PayPal dispute at 3AM.
Speed isn't the only factor however. Receiving a typo-laden email not answering any questions can be worse, as it feels like they didn't listen to you. Nothing is more important than addressing every issue or question in an email.
There must be balance, and I'm going to tell you how Email Meter can help!
- Set up an autoresponder - this automatically lets people know that an answer is coming.
- Prioritize your inbox to make sure easy things are dealt with quickly, and more complex things are properly organized.
- Use saved responses for the most common questions. We try to avoid these here at Email Meter as they can be impersonal, but if properly tailored they are a great time saver for common questions, specifically when used only for parts of emails and not entire responses.
- If you have any public documents which can answer questions, link to them! (our Help Centre 😉)
- For sales, an overview PDF is great to give people the lowdown on general features quickly.
- Keep your inbox properly covered - you can make sure out-of-hours emails don't affect response time metrics with our Business Hours feature.
- Delegate what needs to be dealt with by someone else, and make sure people are accountable!
- Use our Busiest Hours metric to see when you tend to get the most emails, and get to work tackling that pile at the right time. No more surprises.
- Make sure you ask all follow up questions you need to ask in any response to make things as efficient as possible, even if this takes a little more time - gather all the information you need to help someone in one email.
- If you need to investigate or delegate something, let the person know, explain why and provide a time frame where possible. Speed is important but delays do happen and honesty is always the best policy.
- Never fire off canned responses without checking them and changing what needs to be changed.
- If you promise a solution or reply by a certain time and this cannot be met, let them know.
So how can we know if we are improving?
Email Meter shows your Average Response Time in your report overview, as well as 3 specific Response Time metrics:
- Average Response Time is the overall one to reduce, measuring all your responses.
- Time Before First Response/Average First Response Time is good for making sure people aren't left wondering if you got their email at all. Shift those bars to the left! 💪
- Quickest Response Time is your record to try and beat, but beware careless replies!
Track your progress month-by-month or week-by-week, and watch those times plummet after implementing these changes.