Is Anyone There? Why Responding to Online Inquiries is of the Utmost Importance

I send an awful lot of emails. Probably close to a hundred a day. But that’s nothing compared to the hundreds of messages I receive each day. Couple that with Facebook requests, Skype calls, Tweets, texts, and blog comments, and it’s a miracle I ever get anything done around here! And while I wish I could spend less time in my in-box and more time relaxing, I know that all my RE:’s and RT’s are benefiting my company and improving my brand reputation. You see, every response that I send helps build a like and trust factor between my network and myself. Sure, not every comment that I “like” on Facebook is going to bring in a new client or connection, but every little interaction goes to show people that I’m here, I care, and I’m interested. Failing to respond to online inquiries could be chipping away at your reputation. The following are a few tips to help you stay on top of your responses:

1. Know When to Respond

How long do you leave emails unopened in your in-box? A few hours, days, decades? Your response to online inquiries needs to be timely in order to keep the lines of communication open. For email, always try to respond within one business day. If you can’t get to the message in that period of time, be sure to send a quick note stating that you’ve received their inquiry and you’ll be providing them with a detailed response soon. The rules for responding on social networks aren’t quite as cut and dry. Immediate responses are always best on platforms like Twitter and Facebook – a late response could cause you to miss the boat entirely. Late is still better than never however, so if you have something valuable to add, don’t be afraid to respond to the tweet at a later date. If the tweet was a direct message or @ reply (a real one, not a spam attack that is) always, always, always respond!

2. Know Who to Respond To

Ah yes, spammers. Aren’t they just lovely? Whether they’re tweeting or emailing, spammers make staying on top of your online inquiries an absolute headache. If you’re like most people, you simply delete their emails and move on to the next. If you want to fend them off for good, try emailing them back and asking them to remove you from their contact lists. Some spam messages even have unsubscribe options in the footer areas (hmm… funny, I don’t remember ever subscribing to your mailing list in the first place Mr. “I work for an India-based website development company”). Before you delete messages on social networks, remember to block and report any spammers. If you find that your blog is becoming overwhelmed with spammer comments, try installing plugins like Askimet and Hashcash.

3. Know How to Respond

Not every online inquiry requires a novel-length response. Sometimes a simple “Yes”, “No”, or “Thank you” will suffice. Learning how to write concise responses is a great skill to have, so start working on it today. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you’re in-box will go from overflowing to under control!

What’s your game plan for staying on top of online inquiries? Share you strategies below!