The dictionary defines responsiveness as “the quality of reacting quickly and positively,” but what does responsiveness mean in the business world? It seems that there has been a low bar set for customer service in recent years. This goes for both B2B and B2C organizations. Most people have had at least one bad experience that has affected the way they view a company.
The fact is that your clients have options. If they can get a similar service or product elsewhere with better customer service, they often will. In this time of instant gratification, chatbots, and 24-hour help lines, consumers have high expectations when it comes to responsiveness. Companies that have developed systems for great customer relations will find that they can more easily build brand loyalty.
At Annatto, being responsive is one of the core pillars of our business. It is important to our partners and clients, and we expect the same level of service from our contractors and vendors. If you’re not sure what this means for your business, it’s time to find out.
How responsive do I have to be? I don’t want to be available 24/7.
Being a responsive business does not mean that you are required to be available at all hours of the day and night. It does mean that you have processes and systems in place for your customers to reach you when necessary.
Is the secret to hop to attention every time an email comes in? Of course not! Balancing your response time with other work you are required to do throughout the day should be part of your system. For Annatto, this means that we try to respond to emails and phone calls within a few hours. To do this, we set regular times to listen and respond to voicemails and email messages throughout the day. This allows us to be on top of new requests without sacrificing studio time that is already scheduled for other projects.
What if I can’t provide an answer that quickly?
The important part is that the customer is heard. Most people understand that not all requests will have a quick answer. At Annatto, new project scheduling is dependent on our current studio schedule and sometimes a question might not have a simple solution. If that is the case, we’re upfront about it – we may not have an immediate answer, but what you will get is a response and a plan of action. By setting expectations up front, our clients know how and when they can expect to hear from us regarding their issues.
Is your business accessible?
Is there an easy way for your customers to reach the person they need? Having clear contact pathways helps to put your client at ease. Often larger businesses have multiple layers – if your customer is left to blindly navigate this on their own, it can lead to wasted time and frustration.
At Annatto, we are able to have a very open flow within our business. With one phone call or email, our clients can usually contact the person that is working on their project directly. Even though we are managing many projects across the company, we are able to maintain a close relationship with our clients. This is one of the ways that we treat our clients as partners. It shows them that they are important members of the team. They don’t have to go through multiple layers to get to the person they need to speak with, and we don’t run the risk of losing important details in a game of telephone across multiple levels of management.
Not every company has the ability to be structured this way – we get it. But it is important to create systems within your company to address these issues. Discuss any pain points that your customers are experiencing and find ways around them. Sometimes a simple change can elevate your customer satisfaction and improve your efficiency in dealing with issues.
Take a look at available tools that can help you with your responsiveness. There are many digital options that can provide you with simple ways to streamline your communication. Applications like Calendly for scheduling and Slack for workplace chatting can often provide you with a way to improve your systems. Setting auto-responder messages for times when no immediate contact is available is also an excellent way to let your customer know what to expect.
Consider your audience.
Who is your ideal customer and how do they prefer to do business? Investing time in making these considerations will help you better serve them. What are your customer’s wants, needs, behaviors, and viewpoints? It likely won’t be a one-size fits all answer. However, it will help you define systems to meet varied needs. For instance, how do your customers prefer to communicate… Email? Call? Text? Social Media Messaging? Once determined, make sure you have options available that accommodate each preference.
Responsiveness builds trust.
As a business, your clients will notice if you consistently meet their expectations. Over time you’ll build a trusting relationship that works for both parties. At Annatto we value client relationships as much as we value quality design work. Having procedures in place to elevate responsiveness is an important part of the way we do business.
Annatto is your trusted partner. Let’s kick off your next marketing initiative!