Disruptions to business operations are rarely welcomed as they increase uncertainty and confusion. Whether it’s a global pandemic or a cargo ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal, businesses need to respond promptly to customers seeking answers during every circumstance.
This is important for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) already operating with limited staff, time and budget. Disruptions can require businesses to shift away from their “on-again, off-again” brick-and-mortar storefronts to virtual offices and, while businesses already have experience operating under disruptive conditions, it can still be overwhelming and challenging.
One consistent theme since the pandemic started is the chaos it generated for businesses and consumers alike. Organizations were already expected to be available to leads and clients 24/7, but the importance is increased during times of disruption. This means every business should be more responsive than usual to every inquiry because a lack of communication could cause significant damage internally and externally.
These inbound inquiries will be coming in quickly with a diverse range of asks, including questions about services being offered, operating business hours, shipment updates, requests for client support and qualified sales leads interested in becoming potential clients. Leads engage with businesses at their convenience with their preferred communication channel, such as calls and chats, and expect almost immediate responses.Savvy businesses that are staffing all of those channels to answer and act on every inbound inquiry are likely to capture and convert more leads simply through availability.
Checking The Data
HubSpot Research supports the theory that businesses benefit significantly from being quick to respond to leads. Specifically:
- 82% of consumers expect an immediate response to a sales inquiry;
- 90% of consumers expect immediate responses on a support request; and
- 80% of consumers say they’ve stopped doing business with a company because of a poor experience.
Businesses, especially SMBs, typically don’t have the bandwidth to respond to every conversation instantly while also being responsible for thousands of other tasks. Unfortunately, the consequences of not responding promptly could prove costly and limit growth.
How can businesses increase responsiveness during unpredictable disturbances while experiencing the constraints of limited resources? Luckily, there are affordable outsourcing solutions that can solve this dilemma.
Solutions Designed To Increase Responsiveness
Solutions such as outsourced answering services are helping businesses increase responsiveness immediately.
Virtual receptionists provide 24/7 answering services during business hours, after business hours, nights, weekends and temporary coverage. With constant availability, virtual receptionists are helping businesses capture, nurture and convert leads by ensuring all inquiries receive a response to lessen the risk of losing leads and clients.
Additionally, outsourced virtual receptionists can:
- Qualify leads and conduct new client intake with seamless passthrough of captured lead information using CRM integrations;
- Provide detailed summaries after each call sent immediately via email and SMS to prioritize necessary follow-ups;
- Schedule appointments with leads and clients using calendaring software integrations;
- Execute outbound calls so businesses can focus on productive work uninterrupted; and
- Build community with referral partners for leads interested in services outside of a business’ scope of expertise.
I recommend businesses treat their leads and clients how they would like to be treated during difficult times by being available and responsive. They will surely be rewarded tenfold with loyal, appreciative customers.
Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. Smith.ai’s 24/7 virtual receptionists and live chat agents capture and convert leads by phone, website chat, texts and Facebook. You can follow Smith.ai on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube.
This story premiered on our sister site, DemandGen Report.