Why Your Customer Service Response Time Might Be The Biggest Lead Conversion Problem Your Website Has.

Your Customer Service Response Time Might be the Number 1 Thing Keeping Your from Converting Web Leads Into Sales.

customer response time

Businesses spend a lot of time, effort and money to bring in traffic and convert leads, but what happens once a prospective client makes contact has a lot to do with you and how quickly you reply as well as your ability to answer their questions.

It would seem the Internet has fostered people’s appetite for instant gratification even down to your customer service response time.

A new study from social software provider Lithium reveals 53 percent of consumers expect a brand to respond to a tweet within an hour. That number jumps to 72 percent of consumers expecting a response if the tweet is a complaint about the brand or its products.

Once upon a time, when people desired information, they were forced to go to the library, manually look in the card catalog, and then search along the shelves to locate a book to read on their subject. If they were searching for a product or service, they had to “let their fingers do the walking” in the yellow pages of the telephone book in order to find a merchant able to fill their need.

Today by contrast, people simply type their query into Google and wait expectantly for the results, and if those results take longer than a second or two to arrive, they sigh in frustration, and complain that the Internet is “too slow.” Multiple studies have shown people who use the Internet on a regular basis have shorter attention spans than those who don’t use the Internet.

People have been conditioned to expect instant gratification, and if one link doesn’t work, there’s always another. The same goes for customer service response time.

There once was an old proverb that cheerfully informed the world, “The early bird gets the worm!” Today’s proverb might well read, “The first website to give the right answers gets the sale!”

converting website leads

Today, every business worth its salt has a website and social media channels. Some websites merely wish to let people know the business exists and to provide pertinent information such as physical location, phone number, and perhaps current sale info. However, others use their websites for the potentially potent lead generating tools they so readily lend themselves to being for almost all businesses, particularly those with something to sell.

Unfortunately, many businesses are losing web leads they spent so much time and money to gain, often without even realizing they’re doing so!

How does this happen?

Easily, when qualified leads produced via the Internet cool off faster than bare feet in snow. When a potential customer hits your landing page and generates a query, the more rapidly the customer gets the information they are asking for, the greater the opportunity to convert that potential customer into a sale. Play your cards exceptionally well, and it’s possible you’ll have made strides toward creating a client who’ll be loyal for life!

The key to converting web leads into clients is two-fold; first, the speed of the business’s response to the query, and second, the quality of the interaction the client experiences.

A 2007 MIT survey of almost 500 North American companies revealed the amount of time that elapses between the potential client’s query and the business’s response has a direct and dramatic correlation to the likelihood of both contacting and qualifying that lead. When the response time for website inquiry was within five minutes of receipt, the caller connected with the lead 100 times more frequently than when the call was made within 30 minutes.

Also, the probability of qualifying that lead was 21 times greater when the call was placed inside of five minutes.

That’s insane!

Think about your chances of landing the lead if you wait 12 or 24 hours, or God help you even longer.

I know from experience that when a lead is neglected for 48 hours or longer without making a personal connection that we have less than a 1% chance of landing that prospect.

Customer Service Response Time is critical for a number of reasons:

#1 – The likelihood that the lead is still sitting there in front of his computer is high.
#2 –  Your product is still likely to be on his mind.
#3 – A rapid response is likely to be interpreted as the business personally reaching out to clients as an expression
of sincere interest and concern.
#4 – Assuming the call answers the lead’s questions in a polite, courteous and engaging manner, aka as one real
person speaking with another, the chances of ultimately converting that lead into a sale are great.


Social media has made a HUGE impact on customer service response time expectations.

Customers expect fast customer service on social media, but how fast?
Most likely, they expect a response in a shorter time span than you would think. 

According to CONVINCE&CONVERT, “42% of customers complaining in social media expect a 60 minute response time.”

Customer service Response time expectations vary between social media platforms, however the following Chart by Edison Research does a great job illustrating your customers’ expectation for a response time.

customer service response time chart

Businesses spend a great deal of marketing money creating customized websites to draw qualified leads only to, as incredible as it sounds, waste those leads by failing to optimize their response to them in a timely and personal manner. It’s like throwing money out the window! We may live in an impersonal, digitized age of remote forms of communication, but people are still people, and one thing that has not changed is the value of real human interaction.

Internet leads should be approached with essentially the same attitude as if those people were standing expectantly in front of you. Adopting this approach toward your Internet leads will will not only have a dramatic impact upon your bottom line sales figures, but will also ensure you stand out from the rest of your competition.