In our last blog posts, we covered the best ways to optimize small business websites for conversion, both on a daily basis and through paid campaigns.
But what happens once a solid conversion rate has been established for your client’s website and leads are being generated? The next challenge is to make sure that the small business owners handle the leads properly, pick up the phone and reply to messages right away. But wait - who's job is it to help SMBs manage their business better?
Well, if it isn’t yet yours, it probably should be.
If your SMB clients do not meet the expectations of the consumers you managed to attract for them, they will take their business elsewhere. And who will be to blame? Chances are that it will be the marketing service provider who is blamed for poor program results. So one way to avoid this predicament is to help small businesses beyond marketing.
What kind of help could that be? Of course, there’s plenty one can do, but when we are talking about not losing business opportunities that come to your clients through digital channels, first and foremost you must help small businesses be available in real-time.
How Quickly do Consumers Expect Businesses to Respond?
Photo credit: SproutSocial
Today’s digital consumers don’t care what time of day it is or if it is after office hours. They no longer have patience to wait for someone to get back to them. According to research formulated by The Social Habit, more than half of people who interact with an SMB via social media, for example, expect a reply within less than an hour.
We spoke with small business owners to find out if and how they manage to deliver on that expectation - and what happens when they don’t.
“I received a referral from someone who got my name through a client. Although the call came around 6 p.m. while I was ferrying children to and from after-school activities, I took the call. I was able to give him a price quote on the phone. I sent him my email address by text message and he sent me the materials. I was able to confirm the price quote by email while my son was at his hockey practice and to complete the work first thing the next morning.” (Gail Diamond, translator and writer)
But not every business owner reacts that promptly if not specifically instructed to do so. A CEI survey reveals that 58% of customers polled were dissatisfied by the lack of a business’s availability by phone or email and 56% of those surveyed complained of company sluggishness when it comes to resolving issues. Consumers are relentless in their lack of understanding regarding one key detail: if they are able to contact SMBs at all hours, why are the SMBs unable or unwilling to respond in the same way?
“A friend tagged me a in a post in which someone was looking for a translator. But she tagged me at 4 pm, right as I was ending work for the day. When I finally got to checking my Facebook notifications, it was Friday morning and I had missed the opportunity.” (Gail Diamond, translator and writer)
Customers have complete access to SMBs at all hours. They can book appointments according to convenient time slots and ask product- or service-related questions as their need arises. Additionally, any information pertaining to customer service is immediately brought to the small business owner’s attention for prompt resolution.
“I've received several jobs over the years that were sent via [a translation] email list to all of the hundreds of registered translators, because I was the first to answer the email or to call the number.” (Sarah Mageni, Translator, Sarah Mageni Translations)
The ability for an SMB to increase availability and gather, view and respond to customers’ requests in real-time is what increasingly separates prosperous companies from unprofitable business attempts. Collecting and storing booking requests in a CRM, for example, will only benefit the SMB if they are acted on just as immediately as they were sent out.
So the way we look at the situation at Camilyo is this: if a service provider does not want small businesses to churn, it should start moving beyond simply providing marketing services. Marketeers could put more emphasis on educating small businesses on how to manage their business better. And this education begins with the knowledge of the necessity of handling the leads immediately.
Having that in mind, and being a tech company, we have also been working on software to assist service providers and small businesses in that mission. We will announce an awesome addition to our platform at SIINDA on March 30th in London. Stay tuned!