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Velocify-Buyer-Expectations-Experiences-When-Submitting-Online-Inquiry-Oct2013When inquiring about a product or service, only 6% of all potential buyers submit online inquiries to a single company, with a significant majority submitting inquiries to 3 or more companies. That’s according to a new study [download page] from Velocify and PossibleNOW, which commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct an online survey of more than 1,000 adults in the US who had submitted an online form requesting information or expressing interest in a product or service with a value of $1,000 or more. The results suggest that the first company to respond holds the advantage.

The survey split participants into those who submitted online inquiries (through contact forms) on behalf of a business – roughly one-third of the sample – and those who submitted inquiries for personal products or services. The inquiries tended to be for categories such as automotive (22%), insurance (17%), leisure/hospitality (13%) and technology (17%).

Among those making a business inquiry, 72% believe the first company to call has an advantage over the competition. 61% making a personal inquiry agreed. In fact, just 2% of all respondents thought it could be detrimental for a company to be the first to call. (Velocify has previously analyzed the importance of speed-to-call for leads.)

As one might expect given those results, many respondents indicate that their decisions are influenced by slow responses: 64% submitting business inquiries say that’s the case, as do 54% of those submitting personal inquiries. The most common time frame considered to be too slow is 24 hours from submission of the inquiry, although 29% of business buyers said that failure to respond within one hour would cause them to call into question a company’s attentiveness.

Interestingly, just getting a response at all appears to be a tall task. Fully 7 in 10 business buyers indicated that they’ve at some point submitted an online inquiry form for which they expected a response – but never received one. Fewer – but a significant 45% nonetheless – of respondents making a personal inquiry have also come across this problem. Lack of a response appears to be the main complaint among respondents overall when it comes to bad online submission experiences, ahead of bad customer service, slow response, and getting harassing calls and emails.

Other Findings:

  • Most respondents like to be contacted through a mix of phone calls and emails.
  • 3 in 4 respondents would be happy for a company to call them 2-4 times in a 30-day period before giving up, although 1 in 8 indicated they would be ok with as many calls as it takes to reach them.
  • Roughly 8 in 10 buyers would like to receive 1-4 emails in a 30-day period.
  • 7 in 10 business buyers are ok with receiving text messages.
  • 62% of business buyers would prefer to be called back as quickly as possible, even if it’s by a different salesperson, while the other 38% would prefer to always communicate with the same person, even it that means having to wait a little longer. 8 in 10 respondents overall wouldn’t want to wait more than 1 day to talk to the same salesperson.

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