Your lead conversion rate, also known as sales conversion rate or lead-to-customer rate, is the percentage of leads that your business turns into actual sales. There are many different factors that play a role in determining a business’ sales lead-to-customer rate, and the speed with which you respond to inquiries is probably one of the most important ones, and it’s also one that you can modify with relative ease.
The lead-to-customer rate is a vital indicator for any business, since it signals the effectiveness of your sales funnel. If you are generating a significant amount of leads, but your sales conversion rate has decreased, it means that something is going awry at some point during the sales process. If you fail to identify the problem and fix it, you could potentially lose customers, reputation, and profits.
But what does speed of response have to do with any of this?
Modern technology has heavily impacted the way we do business
Customers’ expectation for an instant response is relatively new, and it is the direct result of the impact that modern technologies have had on the business industry. In the past, most types of business were only available during business hours, and customers found it normal to have to wait until the next business day to be able to reach a company if they needed something after-hours.
But thanks to the advent and massification of new technological innovations, such as the internet and smartphones, businesses have had to adapt their services to provide instant responses around the clock. Failing to do so could lead potential customers to seek out a different alternative — especifically, they could end up going to your competitors.
The importance of responding to leads within the first 5 minutes
Regardless of which market your business specializes in, you should never underestimate the importance of responding to leads as quickly as possible. Research has shown that contacting potential customers within a minute of an online inquiry can increase lead conversions by a whopping 391 percent, which decreases to 120 percent if you wait two minutes. If it takes you an hour to contact a customer after an inquiry, the conversion rate drops to just 36 percent.
In addition to this, surveys have also found that up to 78 percent of customers will purchase products or services from the first vendor that responds to their inquiry. So you don’t just have to be fast — you have to be the fastest. Otherwise, you risk losing leads and potential customers to your competitors, with the loss of profits that this entails. You can offer high quality products or services, but if potential clients can’t reach you quickly enough, they will still choose a more convenient option. Shockingly, many companies take approximately 42 hours to respond to each lead — so, how can you prevent your business from losing leads due to slow responses?
Ensure that your responses are always as fast as possible
Being able to respond to inquiries and provide customer service quickly can differentiate you from other businesses and give you an advantage over your competition. It can also increase your customers’ satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn can improve your reputation and customer base.
You may be thinking that while these things sound nice, they can also be difficult and costly to turn into reality. It can be tempting to simply create an automated customer service chat, but customers can find the computerized bot responses off-putting. That is where virtual answering services come in.
A virtual answering service allows you to set up a call center that will be entirely handled by operators who work remotely. Virtual answering services are equipped to keep working 24/7, so you won’t have to worry about having your staff call each lead; instead, your call center operators will handle those calls for you. Operators are fully trained professionals, and they will work hard to ensure that every phone call is answered and that every caller is greeted by a friendly, warm, and knowledgeable human voice.
Depending on the type of business that you run, you will also be able to customize your call center to take on different responsibilities, such as scheduling appointments, making follow-up calls, sending out automated text messages, and contributing to your customer service department. Thanks to a virtual answering service, your business’ speed of response will be lightning-fast, leading to a higher sales lead conversion rate and better profits for your company.