Let me tell you a few stories about companies and the way they use email.

This quote appeared on one of the jewelry forums I follow.

Hi I ordered a custom (ring) from …. and last contact with him was Sept. 21 stating payment recieved will be in touch soon….It’s been almost a month now and I have sent a few emails to him with no response. Anyone have any ideas how I should proceed…all I want is an update with an estimation of completion…I feel funny to email him again I don’t want him to think I’m some kind of crazy stalker…hehehe….Just worried the ring won’t be here in time for my wedding which is Nov. 12.

This lady simply wants some reassurance that her ring will be ready for one of the biggest days of her life. We later found out that the jeweler was having some personal issues, which happen, but a 1 minute email would have gone a long way toward assuring his customer that she would be taken care of. In the mean time this thread went on for more than 3 weeks with his reputation being heavily damaged in the process.

Sticking his head in the sand and pretending that there wasn’t a problem didn’t make the problem go away.

Closely related to this is a company that answers it’s email when they get around to it. This is probably the single biggest problem I hear from our customers at Images Jewelers. Most people will send out several requests for more information about having a piece of handcrafted jewelry made to several jewelers. We constantly hear about how fast we are to respond, or how they had emailed someone else a couple weeks ago and never heard from them, or the best ones, when we are nearly finished creating the piece and the other jeweler has finally responded to the first request for information.

The number of jobs we land simply because we answered our email quickly at close to 10% of our total sales. It’s such an easy way to increase conversions but so few people really put an effort in to their email support that it continues to surprise me.

And then we have people like the folks at Fatheadz.

I had bought a pair of sunglasses from them and after about one month they exploded in to 4 or 5 pieces. They weren’t terribly expensive, about $100, but I had never seen an injection molded piece explode like that. So I sent their customer service an email letting them know what happened and what we could do about it.

About 30 minutes later I got an email from them apologizing for the problem and a solution. Send them the sunglasses back and pick any pair that I wanted from their website to replace them. No hassles, no questions, just an immediate response to the problem with a solution.

So many companies drop the ball when it comes to the basic things like responding to email in a timely manner. It shouldn’t be that way. Not every company can afford to have someone dedicated to answering email the instant it comes in, even if the answer is a yes, we got your email but I need to ask a few people to get an answer for you.

Make answering your email a part of your daily routine. And not once a day, several times a day. Do it first thing in the morning, immediately after lunch, and again about an hour before you go home for the day. Do it and watch your conversion and retention rate jump dramatically.

And for the record, I love my new Fatheadz Sunglasses!

Steve Gerencser

I've been a lot of things over the years, restauranteur, comic book store owner, architect, jeweler, graphic designer, software developer and more. Through them all marketing has been a large part of every step of the way. I built my first website in late '96 or early '97 and started marketing online shortly after that. Since then I've seen almost all of it and try to bring real world business needs to our search marketing and PPC campaigns always with ROI first and foremost in our goals.

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