posted: Friday, October 19, 2012

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Twenty years ago the basic rule was to return all phone calls within 24 hours, but the primary form of business communication has changed over the years. E-mail is the most popular one in terms of business communication, but that doesn’t mean we do it well. It’s easier to not respond to e-mails and the let them pile up, but that’s no different than not returning a phone call. Both are examples of bad customer service. With that in mind, here are some things to remember regarding e-mails.

The first thing is simple: if a customer sends you an e-mail asking you a question or requesting information, then it is vital that you respond to it within 24 hours. The medium of communication has changed, but the 24 hour rule has not. That’s a standard in quality customer service and should never be lost.

Your customer may not be standing in front of you but if you are reading an e-mail from one of them, then it is no different. We talk all the time about how many choices that people have today when they are shopping and if a couple of days go by before you respond to their e-mail, they are probably going to go somewhere else. The easiest way to look at it is this; would you ignore a customer if they were standing right in front of you? Of course not, so why would you do that with an e-mail?

Relationships are a vital part of selling and in this day and age, relationships are built and maintained through e-mail in a lot of cases. The easiest way to destroy a relationship is to ignore it, and by not returning e-mails, that’s what you are doing. If a professional salesperson takes the time to answer e-mails from customers in a timely manner, then they will reap the results.

Everyone is busy but it is important for every salesperson to take the time to answer your e-mails. If that means you have to set aside time on a daily basis to do it, then you have to do it. Not responding to an e-mail in 2012 is exactly the same as not returning a phone call in 1992. Both are examples of poor customer service, and will cost you in the long run.

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