The Importance of Timeliness in Modern Business
The old adage of slow and steady winning the race may have worked for the turtle, but in a world that runs at rabbit speed, it’s not a method that will always work. Customers expect fast, if not immediate answers. Customers seek instant gratification and quick turnarounds. Customers feel the need for speed.

Businesses don’t always work on the same time, as they have their own inner workflow. When you’re working with a customer, they aren’t factoring in what needs to be completed behind the scenes, and that you’re juggling dozens of other clients who want the same thing fast.

That being said, just because you have other things going on, ultimately your customers should be treated as your utmost priority. With technology, the need for fast responses and quick turnaround is vital if you want to stay relevant in this fast paced world.

Most people likely understand the importance of timeliness, but aren’t always sure how to ensure it happens in their workplace. There are many ways to keep your customers in the loop without sacrificing quality, service or time.

Your Website FAQ is an Often Forgotten Wealth of Knowledge
It is inevitable that you will always spend a certain percentage of time dealing with clients who have the same questions that have relatively the same answers. Keep track of these questions, and create a solid FAQ page.

In recent years, the desire to self help has grown significantly among consumers, and when given the choice of calling someone for an answer or finding it themselves, most choose to do it on their own. So let them go to your FAQ page and find the answers they want on their own.

This will give them the answers quickly, without utilizing your internal resources to answer simple phone calls and emails. You’ll be interrupted less, and they’ll have the obvious answers in the blink of an eye. When larger problems arise, or questions outside of the usual, you’ll be able to spend more time resolving them.

Automate Your Timeline so Customers Can Watch Progress
If you haven’t already, make sure your website has a way for people to check on order progress without having to call you to see where their order is in the line or how their service is progressing. Pizza Delivery places now have apps that allow their customers to see where their pizza currently is, and the same goes for many services who text their customers with a time they expect to arrive to perform work.

Actual services and food delivery aside, Amazon Prime has set expectations high for shipping turnaround. Packages that arrive to rural areas within 48 hours of ordering them, and within the day in some cities makes long shipping windows a practice that will likely become outdated in coming years. While most people know that it isn’t something that is typical in all businesses, it is at least reasonable to keep them updated on the status of their order, and to provide shipping information as soon as possible.

Answer your Emails Regularly
Email can be a point of contention for many people trying to make it through the work day. While it is easy to get answers fast while maintaining a paper trail, it can also be a major distraction if you’re working on one project and you receive something unrelated. Especially if you’re waiting for a particular answer, and a different assignment comes in when you’re looking for the first answer.

That said, many people sometimes want to only check their email once per day so to maintain concentration. Unfortunately, those days are behind us and while the guy on the third floor wondering about something due in a week can wait a day, someone else may need an instant answer. Sure, phone calls can work, but email is king.

Find a way to compromise, either by making it known what times you’ll check your email, what kind of matters are handled over email, or have a quick reply saved to let people know when you’ll respond.

Have a Dedicated Customer Service Team (or Individual)
Customer service, while ranked as important by most customers, is often an area that is overlooked internally by businesses who want to focus their resources on sales and product development. But customer service is integral to this, and depending on the size of your company can be one person or a whole team of them.

These are the people who can provide instant or at least very quick answers. That’s their job. Give them the tools to keep customers satisfied, and the resources to find solutions quickly.
Even if you can’t dedicate a large team to this, give any team members who deal directly with clients the same tools you would so they can answer questions quickly.

Make Answers Easy to Find
Rounding back to the concept of a functional FAQ page and the importance of self service, make your entire website easy to navigate so any answer is easily accessible.

If you sell a great selection of green sneakers with orange laces, but people can’t find them on your site they’ll probably move on to the next retailer who makes them easy to find. If your hotel has a beautiful swimming pool and Jacuzzi, but the pictures are buried in the seventeenth page of albums, your guests might just go to the place they know has a pool. If someone has a quick question about the services you offer at your extermination company but your number is listed in the fine print, they’ll Google a different place.

Instant answers are integral to a successful business. Utilize resources like chatbots, have a person answer your phone rather than a machine, and don’t wait until tomorrow to send an email you could send today.

If you want to win the race in the business world, you have to be fast. You have to provide quality and you have to have the answers.

Powered by Marion Fernandez & The Galiano Group Writing Team.