No matter what industry or business you’re in, everyone knows the customer comes first. But have you ever noticed that, with every touch point, there are multiple opportunities for mistakes — and the chance to add in customer dissatisfaction? Building a truly fantastic customer experience means managing everything in this value chain well, says Steve Boyazis, executive vice president at InfoCision Management Corp., Akron, Ohio.
One way to make the customer happy is to respond quickly to basic requests for information. It would seem to be a nobrainer that a business should get the information to potential customers quickly. But, to some businesses, “quickly” may mean a week or several days.
Smart Business asked Boyazis for more insight into some research by InfoCision that proves how vital a speedy response is to customer satisfaction as well as purchasing.
You recently did a study that addressed customer buying response. What were some of the study’s significant results?
The study we did was to determine the effect of time lag on customer response when the customer is requesting information. The hypothesis was that, when people were considering a buying decision but sitting on the fence and had only requested additional information, the timeliness of when they received that information really affected their intent to purchase.
When a call center’s fulfillment process is streamlined for quick turn, variable lot and fully customized mailing that guarantee the lowest postage costs, it is able to provide a cost-effective daily mailing/shipping solution without having to stockpile requests until bulk limits are reached. Our test theory was that quicker turnaround time would lead to increased conversion and an increase in the average spending per prospect.
To test the effect of timing on the fulfillment of collateral material for noncommittal prospects who wanted more information, a controlled test was organized at our fulfillment center to compare sending the materials: 1) within 24 hours of the phone call, 2) at the 72-hour mark — deliveries batched twice weekly, and 3) at the 168-hour mark — deliveries batched once per week.
What did you find out?
The table below summarizes our results and it’s clear that the speed of collateral fulfillment delivery is a key driver in the success of converting ‘fence-sitting’ prospects to sale. We found that the group that sent its collateral packages within 24 hours converted at a 3 percent higher rate than those who were mailed twice weekly. On top of that, those who had their information sent within 24 hours also had an amazing 14 percent high average spending rate than those who were mailed twice weekly. We also found that they converted at a 22 percent higher rate than those mailed weekly.
Was this a one-time test?
No. We’ve tested this theory time and again, across commercial clients and nonprofit ‘maybe’ donation responses alike, and the results are always similar. Specifically, you get a better return by responding to your clients quickly and personally.
For example, let’s say you are a Direct TV infomercial company that sells 100 products a day at an average price of $23 and have another 100 leads a day that are ‘fence-sitters’ that need more time to make a buying decision. Personalized fulfillment in one day versus seven days leads to more than a 20 percent increase in response rate and 14 percent increase in spending. This translates into a 6 percent overall revenue gain. Identifying all these potential points of leakage and managing them as close as possible will help you create the best overall client experience.
STEVE BOYAZIS is executive vice president at InfoCision Management Corp. in Akron. Reach him at (330) 670-5877 or Steve.firstname.lastname@example.org. In business for 25 years, Info-Cision Management Corporation is the second largest privately held teleservices company and a leading provider of customer care services, commercial sales and marketing for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and smaller businesses. InfoCision is also a leader of inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. InfoCision operates 31 call centers at 12 locations throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more information, visit www.infocision.com.