Picture this; you are searching online for new office furniture. After researching several companies, you find one you really like, so enthusiastically enter your information into a form anxious for a call back. Unfortunately several days and then weeks go by and you never hear back from a sales rep. Disappointed you take your business elsewhere.
This experience is the number one sales mistake made by most sales teams, according to a recent survey conducted jointly with Zogby Analytics, more than half of interested prospects have experienced no response from a sales rep. What is worse, companies that are unresponsive to online leads are getting a bad reputation. In fact, survey respondents noted that “no response” is actually worse than poor customer service or rudeness (see chart below).
Let’s take a close look at the five most common complaints from online buyers:
1. No Response – The survey found that when online buyers of high value products and services were asked to openly describe their worst experience in response to online sales inquiries, buyers were more than twice as likely to describe an instance when they didn’t receive a response at all than they were to describe an instance when they received bad customer service or experienced rudeness from a salesperson. While this obviously doesn’t suggest that your call strategy should include being rude to your prospects or customers, it does highlight the importance of responding to each and every lead. Having a rude sales rep that follows up with all leads may be better than having a nice sales rep that ignores incoming leads.
2. Bad customer service and rudeness – The chart above also shows that no response was by far the most commonly cited worst experience, as reported by more than 1000 survey respondents. The second most commonly cited worst experience involved bad customer service and rudeness from salespeople, suggesting that this isn’t something that is desirable either but clearly not as bad, or at least not as common, as receiving no response.
3. Slow response – Not far behind in third place for worst experience in response to online sales inquiries was slow response. Many studies by Velocify and other reputable sources have long stressed the importance of a fast response to sales inquiries. Performance data has plainly shown that the faster leads are called, the more likely they are to convert (Velocify’s Ultimate Contact Strategy). Therefore, it is no surprise that buyers themselves also conveyed the value of a fast response through this study.
4. Harassing calls and/or emails – What might perhaps be a bit more surprising to some is that the negative experience of a slow response was considered slightly worse or more common than receiving harassing calls and/or emails, the fourth most commonly cited worst experience. Many companies are afraid that if they call or email more than once or twice, they wilstrong l be perceived as spammers, and while this is a problem in some cases, it’s probably not as common as one might think. Other Velocify research, Fortune 100 Online Buyer Experiences, has actually shown that most companies tend to give up too soon.
5. Different information from salespeople within the same company – Rounding out the top five worst experiences reported was receiving different information from salespeople within the same organization. Although only five percent of respondents to the survey described this as their worst experience, it is a potential problem that shouldn’t be ignored, especially when the problem can easily be avoided through the use of duplicate identification and management technology.
For more insights on online buyer expectations and experiences, download the full report that contains this and many other informative charts: Online Buyer Expectations: A Study of Personal and Business Buying Experiences and Where Sellers Fall Short
About the author: Jorge Jeffery joined Velocify in 2011 and is senior manager of strategic intelligence. Jorge has been instrumental in mining data from the more than 1,500 sales teams that leverage Velocify’s solutions today. Insights gleaned help establish best practices for Velocify clients in order to maximize revenue potential.