How Long is a Lead Willing to Wait for You to Call Back

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Dealing with customer service can be tricky at the best of times, whether you are the customer or the service provider. Sometimes you catch a break though as the provider, and get someone who is genuinely interested in whatever you are offering but is unable to talk at that time.

You schedule a callback and wait anxiously at the designated time to call them, for them to pick up. But then, you get their voicemail, or an assistant who says they got caught up in something and will you please call back another time? This can be frustrating; or let’s say the same scenario in reverse. You get caught up in other projects at work and are unable to call back to your lead right away.

This situation can be equally frustrating. And if you wait too long, your lead may just decide to go with another service provider. It’s no secret that in our modern age of instant meals, lightning fast Google Fiber internet, and near instantaneous everything, we expect results and we expect them now.

Not in five days, or five hours, or even five minutes, we expect things to be done right away, particularly if we are looking to become a customer. A recent study suggests that the longest at least 15% of customers will typically wait on hold is about 40 seconds. Now we’re talking about callbacks, but you can see the correlation that people are extremely impatient.

One of the most efficient ways to increase satisfaction in your customers is to always keep your customer informed about what is happening. As someone who has worked in customer service for almost a decade, including crowd control and wait staff positions, I have typically found that if there is a delay, but you inform the customer, they are much more relaxed and won’t get nearly as frustrated.

If you have to delay calling someone back for whatever reason, it’s a good idea to shoot off an email or even have an assistant or co worker to call and inform the customer of the delay.

The best rule of thumb for keeping in contact with your leads is the dating rule: three days after the first date. If you call back right away you seem to eager and overbearing. Day two will be okay for a call back, a nice neutral day. But by day three, that’s the golden day, the make-or-break day.

Day three is usually the day that a person who’s been out on a date will either continue to pine after you (unlikely especially given the myriad options for online dating), or they will say “oh well”, and move on to another potential candidate. So do yourself a favor and try to call back the same day at best, or within two to three days at most.