Businesses often equate time and money. In some cases that means saving money through actions that customers feel waste their time. As a result, some customers are likely to take their wallets elsewhere because they feel their time isn't valued by a company they do business with.In fact, according to Ifbyphone's 2012 Consumer Survey, 58 percent of the 531 consumers polled said they're more likely to buy from a brand if they answer sales calls in less than one minute, and 73 percent are more likely to recommend such highly responsive brands. But, as the study highlights, sales call response times and customer service call response times show a difference in how companies value potential customers versus current customers.
When it comes to connecting with a live person, 51.1 percent of all sales calls were answered in less than one minute, with 24.1 percent being answered immediately. However, only 21.5 percent of existing customer service calls were answered within the same one minute time frame. Of those existing calls, only 6.3 percent were answered right away. More than 44 percent of consumers admit to switching brands after a poor response time to their questions.
However, 33.7 percent of respondents said they didn't switch brands because contractual obligations and restrictions kept them from doing so. Unfortunately, these are the same customers facing consistently inferior response times. This begs the question: Do companies value their existing customers' time less because they have already scored the sale?
It appears that some companies are more than eager to satisfy prospective customers because they're looking to profit from closing the deal. But by neglecting to maintain exceptional service throughout the customer lifecycle, they fail to uphold the promise that originally attracted current customers in the first place. What some salespeople forget is that their existing clients are often their greatest advertisement. Though they may be locked into a specific contract, they still have the freedom to express displeasure or sing a company's praises, walking the fine line between disgruntled discourager and reputation booster.
Valuing customers' time shows respect and consideration. Companies foster loyalty because they prove that they're not simply after the initial sale, but a long-term commitment, as well. Just as companies can change their quality of service, customers can easily change their minds about where they spend their money. Contracts eventually expire--so does patience.