50% of leads go with the vendor that responds first, so answering promptly is essential, we’ll show you why and how to improve your lead response times.

As a local business owner, you already know that responding to leads in a timely manner is important—response time to a customer message can have a monumental impact on lead conversion. But what may seem timely to your business, may not feel timely to your customers. When customers are reaching out to businesses for quotes or questions, 50% of leads go with the vendor that responds first, so answering promptly is essential. In this article, we’ll discuss the impact response time has on lead conversion, action items for improving response time, and new Podium features that can help improve overall lead response time.

man looking at text on mobile phone

The power of a timely response.

According to data gathered by Podium, “If there are two identical businesses using Podium, but one responds to all their messages in an hour and one responds to all their messages in five minutes or less, we would expect the second business to convert 25% more of its leads to paying customers.” Ultimately, lead conversion can be improved significantly if businesses’ lead response time to customers is five minutes or less.

Further yet, it has been found that a lead response time in five minutes or less is the ideal timeframe, and after five minutes, the odds of converting a lead drops by 80%. Additionally, responding within five minutes is 21x more effective than responding after 30 minutes.

person using laptop at wooden table

Responding quickly is important, you get it.

But what action items can you actually pursue to improve your lead response time? If you’re already using Podium, here are some actions you can take:

  • Have your whole team in Podium, not just one person. This way everyone sees the inbound messages and can help hold each other accountable for maintaining great response times.
  • Download the Podium mobile app and enable notifications so you can hear, see, and respond quickly when a new inbound message has arrived especially if you’re away from your computer.
  • Prioritize responding to new leads as fast as possible, and keep conversations going so that the lead doesn’t get distracted between text messages.
  • Upgrade to Podium Webchat Pro to have automated FAQ responses anytime someone messages your business through your website chat widget.
  • Create and use templates in the inbox to get more done in less time. If you see many of the same questions, create a template that can be selected easily to respond to leads faster allowing you to spend more time on something else.
  • If the same person is managing inbound conversations for multiple locations, enable messaging Org View in the settings so you can see inbound conversations from all locations, rather than having to toggle between locations to respond to each location’s inbound leads separately. This can help eliminate missed messages.
  • Focus on closing out conversations in Podium after you’ve replied so that you know exactly what needs attention and what has already been handled.

“Obviously, I understand that Podium is not your sales reps’ full-time job—they have a lot of other tasks that need to be completed throughout their shifts. So, to help them feel the least overwhelmed when they do work with customers in Podium, we’ve structured the inbox so that all they have to worry about is the open inbox. The way that I like to see the open inbox is sort of like a checklist: They need to take care of it if it’s in “open” and they never want anything pending in there for too long! So when it comes down to it, this is literally all they need to do: Check Podium throughout their shifts, respond to leads and anything that comes in through the open inbox, and “check it off” by closing it out as soon as they respond. If their open inbox is empty, they’re good.” – Podium’s Customer Success Manager

New Podium Inbox Features to help improve your lead response times.

Over the next couple of months, Podium will be rolling out additional features into our platform to help improve the business’s response time to leads. Automated Lead Escalation Rules are available today, with Conversation List Sorting, and Conversation Auto Assignment coming soon; all designed to help make managing and responding to leads easier for you and your employees.

Automated Lead Escalation Rules: If a message hasn’t been answered after a specific amount of time, you can assign it to a specific person, move it to a different inbox, or automate a notification in Team Chat or by email.

Conversation List Sorting: New abilities to sort your inbox by oldest to newest, newest to oldest, new conversations, and existing conversations.

Conversation Auto Assignment: You no longer have to manually assign a conversation to the next available person, with auto-assign, all you have to do is set it and forget it and every new lead can be routed round-robin style automatically to the right person in your business.

Stay alert and organized.

Responding to and converting leads can seem daunting at first, but implementing management tools like Podium and creating an actionable plan can help improve your overall conversion rate. Ultimately, improving your response time can help you compete and win against competitors, every time.

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

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