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  • Reply time to emails

    [content removed]
    Last edited by waitingformagic; 02-07-2009, 06:06 PM.

  • #2
    I generally like to think 24 -48 hours is more than enough for any business, i know people dont live on line but at the end of the day a reply does not take long, its all about customer service, so if after 48 hours if i have heard nothing i will go else where. I may be a little stiff on this but at the end of the day its my money i would be spending. unless of course it does state a time scale etc.
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    • #3
      I agree with Julie there. I go online at least once a day - every day to answer customer queries. If I don't hear back from a company within two days I start to think the worst. Bad customer service makes my blood boil and it only takes a couple of minutes to at least acknowledge a message or query.
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      • #4
        When you talk about 48 hours or 2 days are you including the weekend in this? Or do you expect it to be 2 working days? If people email me over the weekend or in the evenings it depends on whether I'm in 'work mode' when I'm logging on as to whether I reply out of hours. Also if the query appears v. urgent or v. easy to answer I'll often reply out of hours but if it requires any of my little grey cells to work it usually gets left until the next working day.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by waitingformagic View Post
          I was just wondering how long you guys generally take to respond to emails from cutsomers, and how long you feel is reasonable from small-business people you are buying from? How long would it be before you were just put off buying from them? Could you be put off?

          I am not referring to those who have notices on websites to say "I'm on holiday from..." / "Open from Xam-Xpm, Mon-Thurs" (or similar) / "Replies may take x time" - and so on... and you've managed to email in an "inconvenient" spot. I am talking about their site suggesting none of that.

          Just kinda curious as a buyer and seller.
          I started a similar thread a couple of weeks ago, after it took an Estate Agent over a week to call me back, and I got no responses to emails and telephone calls.. and on the same day, exactly the same issue with a Kitchen Extractor from a big firm..

          The Agent was kind of offhand about their seeming lack of urgency.. but I had no choice but to deal with them..

          Of two forms I contacted about an Extractor, neither have responded to email or phonecalls.. But I found the wholesaler of the unit I was interested in, told them I was struggling to find someone willing to sell me one, and they did it direct.. delivered.. from start to finish in less than 36 hours..

          It seems some folk think it is quite ok not to respond until you have something useful to say, though the general concensus was "if you cant action it immediately, acknowledge the contact, and inform them of the time it takes to process their enquiry"!

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          • #6
            Sounds like some people are working on the time management course that one of my colleagues went on some years back:
            - ignore the 1st email
            - ignore the 2nd email
            - if a 3rd email arrives then reply to it!
            Great way to manage your time and keep everyone happy I don't think. Unfortunately there are businesses out there that seem to work a bit like that.
            I'd expect a reply within 2-3 days.
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            • #7
              I respond immediately, providing grey cells are not needed.

              I have even answered some at 3.00 in the morning - how sad is that!

              Always within 24 hours, including weekends.

              Jane
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              • #8
                I try to reply within 24 hours of reciept of the e-mail even if it is just to notify the other party that it has been recieved. That includes weekends as I check my mail every day.
                There is nothing worse for a client than wondering if the mail sent has been recieved or if the company is ignoring you. I think it's hard enough to get customers as it is without ignoring the ones that do contact you.

                Caroline
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by waitingformagic
                  My thoughts exactly. Although some people obviously don't need the business (or think certain people aren't worthy of their products - I've had that one... That's a whole other thread!)

                  ----------
                  Interesting replies.

                  Basically, I asked because of some recent contact...

                  I emailed someone at 9am on Friday morning. I received a reply at 8pm yesterday. So 3.5 ish days.

                  Ignoring that yesterday was a bank holiday (excusable to not reply - I assume everything closes!), and that we had a weekend in between... Would you not ensure you check before the end of Friday, knowing you wouldn't be online for days? Or at least "we're away for the bank holiday" auto-reply or something?

                  I have bought from her before and those replies sometimes took up to 2 days but I really did assume this might be swifter with the bank holiday looming!

                  Tbh, it's really put me off - I can't be waiting around for nearly 4 days - which is a bit disappointing as she has some great bits (I always check her site) and the order she just lost was over £20.

                  I just don't see how anyone can justify leaving it that long?

                  Personally, if I couldn't reply for that long, I'd have ensured I had an auto-reply set up - but I guess people don't want to lose business by saying they won't be online, they're hoping you'll wait around until they can be a*sed with you. Which I guess works for some people.

                  Maybe I'm being petty but it really irritated me. (Didn't help that I waited that long for her to tell me she couldn't meet my request...)
                  Well, given you got a reply in less than one official working day, I don't think you can get "too upset" over one incident.. if it is a small business, they may work from home, or be a sole trader.. perhaps they had taken friday afternoon off to get away for the bank holiday.. I do agree that some firms need to learn to prioritise though.. a simple "no" or "sorry cant help" takes a few seconds.

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                  • #10
                    One of the probs is that if you don't get an automated response you are not 100% sure your e-mail has arrived correctly.
                    Carol
                    God helps them that help themselves.

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                    • #11
                      I expect a reply within 24 hours, except a Sunday, and always reply to customer's within 24 hours, even if it's just an acknowledgement .

                      Recently emailed a Uni about a course query. I put a read receipt on it, so I know they read it - they had an automated reply saying they responded all queries within 24 hours and 3 weeks later I've still not had a reply!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by staceyjlew View Post
                        I expect a reply within 24 hours, except a Sunday, and always reply to customer's within 24 hours, even if it's just an acknowledgement .

                        Recently emailed a Uni about a course query. I put a read receipt on it, so I know they read it - they had an automated reply saying they responded all queries within 24 hours and 3 weeks later I've still not had a reply!!
                        Sorry, cant allow Academia, NHS, or Local Government examples, that's just shooting fish in a barrel!

                        eg: 17 weeks 4 days for an "appointment letter".. to be told thank you for coming today to "register".. and waiting 17 weeks and another 4 days to be "invited to see the spe******t.." who offered an appointment for treatment.. 18 weeks later.. 54 weeks to get a toenail looked at! GGGRRRRR!!! (yes, really!)

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                        • #13
                          I had a couple of email enquiries Saturday evening and didn't reply until I got into the shop this morning cos of the bank holiday. Yes, fair enough it may be frustrating for the customer to wait that long but at the end of the day I run the business by myself and I feel I deserve some time off too. As I said before if it's an easy or urgent query I'll reply quickly, plus an automated reply is also sent acknowledging every enquiry so they know it's been recieved.

                          And Jane, do you really reply at 3am??? I'll often type a reply very late at night but leave it in my drafts and send it at 8am as I never really know whether it gives a good or bad impression replying at odd hours

                          Originally posted by staceyjlew View Post

                          Recently emailed a Uni about a course query. I put a read receipt on it, so I know they read it - they had an automated reply saying they responded all queries within 24 hours and 3 weeks later I've still not had a reply!!
                          Hmmm I had a similar experience with a uni last month - after a few weeks I got a reply saying the info would be posted out and a few weeks after that some info arrived...unfortunately not what I'd asked for - I got undergraduate full-time instead of postgrad part-time However I did get an email from them last week with a survey to complete regarding their customer service - I took great delight in clicking 'disappointed' for virtually every question
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nattynetty View Post
                            [FONT=Arial Narrow][SIZE=3][COLOR=purple]

                            And Jane, do you really reply at 3am??? I'll often type a reply very late at night but leave it in my drafts and send it at 8am as I never really know whether it gives a good or bad impression replying at odd hours
                            Yes I do, when it gets to silly season November/December I am often out from 4.00am until gone midnight - I then sleep for most of January

                            So have to answer emails at silly o'clock


                            Jane
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by waitingformagic View Post
                              I was just wondering how long you guys generally take to respond to emails from cutsomers, and how long you feel is reasonable from small-business people you are buying from? How long would it be before you were just put off buying from them? Could you be put off?

                              I am not referring to those who have notices on websites to say "I'm on holiday from..." / "Open from Xam-Xpm, Mon-Thurs" (or similar) / "Replies may take x time" - and so on... and you've managed to email in an "inconvenient" spot. I am talking about their site suggesting none of that.

                              Just kinda curious as a buyer and seller.
                              I respond to an email as soon as I have read it though it may only be a case of 'Thank you for your enquiry. I'll get back to you ASAP.' If you have a business big enough to get a lot of emails (I don't...yet) then I would suggest that good service and what is seen as a peronal service would go a long way to engendering a sense of trust and encourage repeat orders. I know it does with me. One largish company I deal with for tools and consumables isn't always the cheapest but their after sales service and their handling of queries is 2nd to none and so I use them a lot. We alive in an age of conglomerates and multinationals and to give and get that personal touch is very important IMHO. If you are a small one man band then I don't see any excuse for not answering an email when you have read it. To me it is no different to ignoring someone who is talking to you.

                              Pete
                              "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci
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