Aug 2 2004

Whatever Happened to "The Customer is King"?

B2B published a synopsis of an unbelievably pathetic study last week, which I’ll excerpt here in case that flaky-looking link doesn’t work:

More than 50% of global brands fail to answer e-mails, study finds…Fewer than half of the top global brands bother to answer e-mail correspondence sent to their Web sites, according to a study by Common Sense Advisory, a research company…”Our research showed that responding to prospects and customers appears to be a problem for most companies,” said Donald A. DePalma, the lead analyst for the report.

Sixteen percent of those surveyed don’t offer e-mail or Web communication with current and prospective customers, the study found.

Ok, the last paragraph is a little sad, since email and the web aren’t exactly new technologies any more. But the first paragraph — come on, folks! If you’re going to bother having a web/email presence, how could you possibly not respond to inbound email correspondence from customers or prospects? How often do you stop answering your phones? Or lock your front door?

There’s just no excuse for companies to not respond to email. Just because it’s more anonymous doesn’t mean that the person on the sending end is any less valid a customer or prospect than one who calls or stops by. And it’s not even that hard to do. Put a junior person on it, or route the emails to different groups or departments. Have your existing customer service group handle it. Something. Please!