Impeccable Responsiveness

Impeccable Customer Service Tip #320

Who takes ownership of the triage on your company’s “general” e-mail inbox? … And who does it when that person is away? Determine a non-negotiable standard for customer response times (and rules that determine when it’s better to respond via telephone). Now post your promise to your customers on your web site so as to manage their expectations (and remember to under promise and over deliver).


  1. Phil Smith III says

    Indeed! I’m appalled at the number of sites–including (perhaps especially) huge multinationals–who don’t respond to questions, especially ones that boil down to “I want to buy your product”. Most of these even send an autoresponse, so it isn’t just that nobody ever thought about it. I often wonder how many of them are redirecting the mail to someone’s inbox who no longer works there.

    Related sins:
    – Using personal email addresses for contact addresses: this means that when someone moves on, you have to change the website, which is expensive (and far too easy to forget). Better to use an internal list *of more than one person*, and make updating such lists part of the exit process
    – Sending an autoresponse that does not include the original note. I sometimes get the autoresponse hours or days later, and don’t remember exactly what I wrote (I’m talking about mail submitted via web form). I’ve gotten into the habit of copying what I’m sending and emailing that to myself, but of course that’s not the same email chain, plus I sometimes forget.
    – The same applies to followup email: don’t send me a response a week later (even though you get points for responding at all) that says “The answer to your question is 42.” Include the original note!!!

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