“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. – Gertrude Stein”
Company representatives, namely sales personnel, constantly experience situations where customers do not respond post discussions over the phone, follow up emails, and even requests for sales proposals. It would have seemed like the customer had a real need, and your company’s products were the solution – and yet no response. It becomes frustrating and difficult to understand what went wrong, especially since the prospect refuses to respond letting your company know the reasons for stalling or not going ahead. Frankly, it is unprofessional, but there usually are several reasons why customers do not respond, and it would benefit companies to understand these reasons. Research shows that 33% is considered to be a good email open rate, which effectively means there is a possibility that none of the people to whom the email was sent, opened it. This is a tough situation – and worse still, assuming some did read the email, they just did not respond, and it would be hard to know why.
While a company could try again to receive a response, and the sales personnel could try to ascertain what they were lacking, the truth is that very often the reasons for why customers do not respond would be out of the control of a company or its representatives. The fact is that while the prospective customer would be very important and essential to the growth of a company, customers would have several companies contacting them with similar proposals. Companies often feel overwhelmed by the number of calls, emails, messages from other communication channels they receive, leading them to probably ‘shut-off’ for a while. Before assuming the worst and or constantly sending reminders to the customer, it would be helpful to understand why customers do not respond and what can be done to enhance the company’s chances of receiving a response. One of the most commonly used tools to follow up with prospects is email, since it is economical and it is possible to reach a very large group of customers with one single message. However, many companies over time have misused this tool, which in turn has irritated customers given the high volumes of messages they receive, making them look at ‘gatekeepers’ to block out unwanted messages.
Customers do not respond to emails unless they are relevant and interesting, and it is the job of companies to ascertain, which messages, customers find enticing enough to read and respond. If your company finds the response rates on its emails declining, it would be necessary to ascertain why and take the necessary steps to ensure responses begin pouring in again. Is your company able to understand the reasons why customers do not respond? We look at some of the reasons, in no particular order of importance, to help with this conundrum. The most obvious reason seems to be a lack of time. Frenzied hours, overwhelming deadlines, business exigencies, and other business related issues would take up a significant amount of time for customers, leaving little or no time for anything else. In such situations, prospective customers are possibly not responding to the messages sent by any company since it would be hard for them to sift through the large number of emails to decipher which are relevant and which ones should be trashed. Eventually they would not get down to actually reading and responding, to email messages.
Surprising as it may sound, several prospects could actually prefer face-to-face conversations than ‘talking’ via an electronic medium. This would be especially true for prospects trying to make an important and large purchasing decision. They would prefer to meet and understand the company directly, and if this were the case, chances are that your company would possibly never hear back from such customers. On the other hand, there could be customers who prefer to connect via the phone since they could find reading and writing email messages too cumbersome and annoying. This is especially true of top executives who maybe a lot older and therefore fixated on how they prefer to communicate. Such customers do not respond to emails, and it would be unfruitful to pursue them via this medium.
Another very common reason why customers do not respond is that your email did not reach their inbox. With spam mails becoming commonplace, emails with certain phrases and subject lines are diverted automatically to the spam folders, which customers would not look at, and hence would obviously not respond. Choose your email subject lines and headers carefully to ensure that your message reaches the person as intended.
A new launch or a re-launch of a product or service would be very exciting for a company, which would make them send out messages to a large number of customers informing them. However, if the prospects do not need the product at the time, they would certainly not respond. Timing is of prime importance when sending out messages, in order to receive responses. It would be a good idea to resend the same emails at a different time to those customers who did not respond to ascertain their interest in your company’s offerings.
Given that companies often send common emails to a number of recipients, the messages could lack depth and would not convey value to some of the recipients. If the recipients were unable to see how your company can help them, and what value they would be receiving, it would be very likely that they would not respond. If customers do not respond it is probably because your company’s message was unable to stir them and connect with them emotionally. Frankly, customers and prospects are tired of receiving messages that make no sense to them or do not serve any purpose. It must be understood that several companies are vying for customer attention, and hence many of the messages customers receive would be repetitive in nature, and with high frequency. As a customer you would know that ‘email fatigue’ is very real, which would prevent you from responding to several messages you receive through the day.
We have mentioned before that people prefer associating with companies that seem friendly, personal, and humane. Customers do not respond when the ‘feel and tone’ of your company’s messages is rote and robotic – too much jargon, boring, and apparently automated. People want to interact with people rather than machines hence if your company’s messages read as though written by a robot it is unlikely that customers would respond. Adding to this aspect is the fact that some messages from companies seem never ending, with repeated words and phrases, adding no meaning. When sending messages remember to view them from the customer’s point of view – the messages should make sense and convey value within the first few lines, to ensure that the recipients not only read the message but are encouraged to respond as well.
We are certain that there are several other reasons due to which customers do not respond, and it would make sense for a company to figure these out. If prospects do not respond, it is acceptable to reach out again in an attempt to get them to speak with your company. Customers appreciate timely follow up, but make sure that you check their availability in case you would like to call or meet with them. Sure there are a number of reasons why customers do not respond, but with tact and persistence, your company should be able to break the jinx.