In today’s technology-driven world it’s no surprise that consumers and business customers are becoming more impatient and more demanding. Thanks to the immediacy of the Internet, customers expect you to respond quickly, if not immediately, almost in real-time – and it’s challenging for many.

Here’s a quick look at what customers have come to expect and how you can be more responsive to them in order to boost customer loyalty.

Expectations are on the Rise

In Broadly’s State of the American Small Business released in 2019, business owners said they’re feeling pressed to deliver fast service and excellent customer support. Fifty-five percent reported feeling like they had an hour or less to respond before a prospect moves on to a competitor.

They’re right! One-third of those surveyed expect small businesses to respond to them within the hour to gain their business. And over half (51%) said they would go elsewhere if a business takes more than 6 hours to respond. 

Five Ways to be More Responsive to Customers

When it comes to how fast to respond, the correct answer is: as fast as possible! Here are five tips to be more responsive to your customers.

1. Ask What They Want – Survey your existing customers to get a better feel for what methods they prefer. For example, are they ok dealing with a chatbot if they got a faster response? If you’re not sure… ask!

2. Manage Expectations – While you should strive to be prompt, guide customers to the channel that will best serve them. For example, if your customers try to contact you through Facebook, but that’s not a platform you access often, have your account alert customers to call for a faster response.

3. Develop Protocols – Set benchmarks for how fast your team responds to inquiries. Make sure everyone knows your goals. Benchmarks can vary from channel to channel. 

4. Educate Your Team – Make sure your team knows how to answer customer-service questions. Create an online FAQ knowledge base. This can also help keep your answers consistent.

5. Utilize Technology – This can be simple, like setting up Facebook to generate an auto-reply or using a social media app to track all of your accounts. Whenever possible, automate and streamline the process.

Excellent customer service starts with attention to the details. Work with your team to set up processes and systems. These five tips are a great place to start!