One of the forums I belong to has had a great discussion on response times for client enquiries. This is a good topic for all to have a think about. I know that I often get clients contacting me saying they had rung someone or emailed someone before me and had had no response. There had been no voicemail message, or no autoresponder, or no-one had returned the call or replied to their email. Their contact with me is sometimes several days or a week later.
Virtual Assistants are business operators and it is most important that we respond as we would expect other businesses to – in a timely manner. Because the nature of our business is almost entirely virtual, it’s not unreasonable to expect that prospective clients will email us, and many will also use the phone. So, think about what you do to welcome that initial enquiry.
- Do you have a voicemail message encouraging the client to leave their details and you’ll get back to them very soon?
- Do you respond to email enquiries in a short period of time?
- If you’re not in the office constantly, or away for a period of time do you have an autoresponder set up to give the client confidence there is someone at the other end?
- Do you have Rules set up in your email program so that client enquiries are quickly identified amongst all the other emails you get?
- If you’re on leave have you organised for your email and phone to be diverted to someone else to handle on your behalf?
Once a client has decided they need help, they want a response quickly. They won’t wait around for long and if you’re not there to respond when they attempt to make contact, they will move on to the next Virtual Assistant on the list, either in the phone book or on the web.
So, think about your processes and what it looks like to someone who is coming to you for service. Would you be happy with your response time?