How long does it typically take your B2B company to respond to buyers? When buyers reach out for assistance, they expect a fast response. The longer it takes your B2B company to respond to a buyer, the greater chance of he or she leaving in favor of a competitor. Research even shows that 86% of buyers will pay more money for a fast and positive experience. By streamlining your B2B company's customer support, you cultivate an audience of loyal and satisfied buyers who propel your B2B company on the path to long-term success.
Leverage an Auto-Responder
Assuming your B2B company supports email-based inquiries, you can leverage an auto-responder to accelerate its response times. An auto-responder is software -- either locally installed or cloud based -- that's designed to automatically respond to emails. You can configure an auto-responder with a generic email. In this email, you can thank buyers for reaching out to your B2B company while also providing them with an expected response time, such as 12 or 24 hours.
Here are some tips on how to use an auto-responder:
Send Responses Manually
While useful for accelerating response times, an auto-responder isn't a substitution for manual responses. Rather, the purpose of an auto-responder is to let buyers know that you received their email; you'll still need to investigate their problem or inquiry and find a solution or answer to it. You can then send a response manually that's customized with the buyer's requested information. Sending responses manually such as this will create a stronger connection with buyers that encourages them to stay with your B2B company.
You can lower your B2B company's customer response times by preparing a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ). When buyers seek an answer to one of these questions, you can refer them to your B2B company's FAQ. As a result, you won't have to craft a unique response. An FAQ will accelerate your B2B company's response times by allowing you to respond more easily and quickly.
An effective FAQ, of course, requires the right questions. Think about what questions buyers ask the most, and compile them into a list with a concise answer. Reviewing your B2B company's emails will likely reveal common questions asked by buyers. As you go through your B2B company's emails, take note of which questions buyers ask the most. Alternatively, you can use a keyword tool to find common questions that are relevant to your B2B company's operations. Answer The Public is a particularly useful keyword tool for building an FAQ list. You can enter a relevant keyword, and it will return questions that include your specified keyword.
Enable Notifications on Your Smartphone
Another tip to lower your B2B company's customer response times is to enable notifications on your smartphone. You probably won't be working in the office 24 hours a day. If you're out of the office and a buyer sends you an email, you may not notice his or her message until the following day. Smartphone notifications offer a solution. You can enable them to receive a mobile message when a buyer emails your B2B company.
Offer Live Chat
Email isn't the only channel that you can use for buyer communications. In recent years, more and more B2B companies have begun offering live chat. Statistics show that two-thirds of all B2B companies offer live chat as a customer support channel. Live chat is a form of real-time, web-based communication. You can often find it on B2B companies' websites. With live chat, buyers can send a message through your B2B company's website to its customer support team. And either you or another service rep can respond to buyers using this same web-based feature.
Many buyers actually prefer live chat over email because it allows them to get a faster response. Live chat is performed in real time. You'll receive buyers' messages immediately, and buyers will receive your responses immediately. Offering live chat is just one more way to reduce your B2B company's response times.
In addition to live chat, you can try reaching buyers by phone. While many buyers prefer email or live chat, some of them prefer calls. It's often easier for buyers to talk to someone over the phone than to check their inbox or engage in a live chat session. Therefore, you should consider calling buyers with a response. When a buyer reaches out for assistance, try calling him or her. You can still send an email response, but calling offers another channel by which you can quickly respond to buyers.
Don't forget to prioritize your responses. In other words, you shouldn't randomly respond to buyers in no particular order. For faster responses -- as well as a higher level of buyer satisfaction -- you should prioritize your responses.
You can prioritize your responses in several ways, one of which is by time. Time-based prioritization involves responding to buyers based on when they contacted your B2B company. All buyer inquiries will enter a queue. The oldest inquiries will be at the top of the queue, whereas the newest inquiries will be at the bottom. Another way to prioritize responses is by level of importance. Some inquiries are more important than others. If a buyer needs assistance with a purchased product or service, for instance, you should respond more quickly.
It's the same thing with Project Reports given to you by SalesLeads. These require immediate responses as they have identified a project within their company. The longer you wait, the less likely your company will be considered. Be sure to make updated notes so you can be sure to stay on top of the sales lead or project report especially if they are not in the office.
Encouraging buyers to stay with your B2B company requires fast responses. Buyers will inevitably reach out to your B2B company for assistance and answers. With fast response times, they'll feel appreciated and satisfied, which should compel them to stay with your B2B company. Following the tips outlined here will help you achieve lower response times while paving the way towards long-term B2B success.