One of the biggest challenges we’ve got in business is the on-demand nature of so much of our world. We can get instant responses by searching for something online, get fairly decent and healthy food in 10 minutes or less, talk with anyone anywhere in a matter of seconds, and share something with just a click with 1,000 or so of our closest friends.
As business owners if we really want to succeed and have happy customers we have to be excellent communicators. When communication is an issue so many people can be impacted or frustrated and time can be wasted. But I do understand how busy business owners are and how much is on our plates, so I support establishing a happy medium.
I think the on-demand nature of our world has its benefits, but at the same time there have to be boundaries because in many cases when boundaries aren’t established or committed to, other things suffer. In some cases you absolutely have to be there the second the call comes in (hospitals, police etc.), but in many cases it’s not necessary, which means that as long as you’re regularly responsive and have clearly communicated your general response time, there’s no reason to interrupt your client or business work to answer a call or message.
If it’s not absolutely necessary and you don’t have the resources to set up a live chatbot that can answer basic questions for you or hire someone to be available 24/7 to answer questions, then you have to commit to being responsive. My guarantee is that I respond to all messages within 24 hours, but usually sooner. Sure, I could sit around and wait for messages to come in, but with the exception of a few clients who pay for that privilege, most clients (and people) that I work/talk with don’t have emergencies that demand that type of attention.
That said, as I alluded to earlier, it’s necessary to respond to all communications you receive (unless it’s clearly spam or nasty (reviews are another story, which is a discussion for another time)). If your business is not responding to messages within 24 hours (or within 48 if you absolutely have to on the weekends), it indicates to me that you’ve most likely got a larger problem at hand. If you’re not reasonably responsive with your communications it makes me question how serious you are about your business. Do you really want new customers? Do you really want to help the customers you do have? Do you really want to grow and improve your business? What does your communication and responsiveness reveal about your business?
I encourage you to commit to being more responsive to your calls, messages and other communications this year.