Following online mystery shopping programmes a few clients have recently asked us a similar question: Does our speed of response to online enquiries meet customer expectations?
To maximise the likelihood of converting enquiries into sales, companies need to understand what consumers expect of them in terms of responding to emails and website enquiries.
Its also interesting for brands to have a better understanding or consumer types when it comes to digital communications. For example, the expectations of females or males, and younger v’s more mature consumers.
To find the answers we surveyed 560 Irish consumers from our mystery shopper database.
We asked these Irish consumers how quickly they would expect companies to respond to their emails based on the following scenario:
“You are online looking at a product you are interested in buying and have a question about it, so you send an email to the company’s customer email address. How quickly would you expect the company to respond to your email?”
As shown below, although a small percentage (8%) expect an answer within 1 hour, 2 out of every 3 customers are satisfied with a response within 24 hours. That’s pretty much the outer limit though, as once you go over 24 hours you are meeting hardly anyone’s expectations.
Many brands would view the 3-hour response target as the sweet spot……. “if we achieve this we should be at least meeting and probably exceeding expectations”. Our survey shows that this 3-hour target is the expectation of just over 1 in 4 Irish consumers (27%).
Comparing male and female expectations reveals that males are more demanding in terms of response speed to online enquiries. 36% of males expect a reply within 3 hours, with only 23% of females expecting a similar speed of response.
Only a very small proportion of both males and females are willing to wait longer than 24 hours for a reply to an email.
Age Group Comparison
There are also some interesting comparisons when it comes to age. The standout finding, and perhaps surprising, is that the over 55’s have a higher requirement when it comes to speed of replies compared to their juniors – with 38% of over 55's expecting a reply within 3 hours compared to just 23% for the under 40’s.
The study also shows that the over 55 age group have little tolerance for delayed replies, with just 2% saying they would be satisfied with a reply within 48 hours, compared to 10% of those under 25 years of age.
If you would like to know whether your company is delivering great customer experiences both online and offline please get in touch with Adrian at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01-299 3802.