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Open Letter to Log Home Companies

Answer your email…

I have a pet peeve… Why do so many people and businesses treat email in a different way than a phone call or voice mail? Putting aside spam, subscribed lists, promotional mail, etc. (which are easy to filter), why is an email from a LIVE person treated with less priority than a phone call or v-mail message from that same person?  It is my opinion that sales opportunities are being lost when email is handled in such a way

Don’t get me wrong, I know what an overflowing, junk-filled inbox looks like.  I have received in excess of 3,000 emails in ONE day so I know what a chore it can be to manage that mess.  The odds are that if your IT people were not doing a good job, you would be receiving thousands of spam messages daily.  Even with the spam filters such as SpamArrest (which I use) on our mail clients and the spam blocking done on the mailserver or through your ISP, junk still gets through.  But, that is not a good reason for not monitoring the incoming mail more diligently.  That one message from a prospect that wants to build a log home yesterday may be hidden in that junk pile.

I have corresponded with hundreds of log home companies over the years from major manufacturers to small ‘Mom & Pop’ dealers or builders, and it boggles my mind when I receive a response to an email – days, weeks and yes, even months after I sent my original message.  When I send an email for the first time I usually add a ‘delivery’ flag to tell me that my message was received by the server so that I know I’m using a good address.  I don’t typically add a ‘message read’ flag because most people will not acknowledge that request, but at least I know when my message was received by the person or organization.

Unless I am traveling or physically unable to devote the time (or access the Net), I try to read and answer my email daily.  If I am in my office, I will often answer mail immediately.  You would be surprised how many times I’ve heard people say (or reply to an email with)… “Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I didn’t expect that”

Do people expect to wait days or weeks for a reply to a voice mail message?  Of course not!

My purpose in this (tiny rant) is not to make accusations… my point is simply that I believe sales opportunities are being lost by not making email a higher marketing priority.  If a quick response to an email inquiry surprises most people, why not capitalize on that to reinforce the message of superior customer service. 

With energy prices heading for the stratosphere, marketing experts predict that people will do even more research online before they jump in the car or pick up the phone.  This means that email will have an even greater significance as a marketing and sales tool than it has in the past.  If a potential log home buyer emails the same message to 5-6 different manufacturers and one company responds quickly and offers answers, suggestions and a course of action… the likelihood of turning that prospect into a customer is significant.

Actually this suggestion is applicable to almost any business.  “We are not just in the log home business, we are in the “log home information business“.  And today, people get their information online and use email to get answers to questions and help make buying decisions. 

4 comments to Open Letter to Log Home Companies

  • Melissa

    Isn’t that the truth, not just about log home companies, a lot of businesses seem to operate this way. I work for a company providing assembly support for a toy manufacturer and my boss shares your view. He is always lecturing to new employees that a real person sent that email just as a real person called on the phone.

    Anyway, my husband and i have been planning to build our lake cabin and we’ve been looking at a bunch of log home companies online and we emailed for brochures one weekend form a bunch of different companies. Most of the brochures or letters, came within a week or two, but one company just sent a brochure last week and we requested it in mid April. You can bet we won’t be buying a log kit from them.

  • Amen on this! I try to return calls/emails the same day or at a minimum within 24 hours. I am leaving my Fortune 500 company employer that emphasized this and I will behave no differently as a log home representative. The log home business should be no different. I think responsiveness can set you apart from your competitors!
    Shelley

  • It’s especially frustrating when there is no obvious way to escalate the urgency of your contact. You need to have a phone number, fax, or other contact mechanism if you aren’t going to treat email with the same sense of urgency.

  • Jennifer

    AAAHHHUUURRHHGGG!!!… I hear ya.. it’s not just log home companies.. it’s everything gone automated. Forget trying to get a warm live body to answer a typed e-mail.. they don’t even answer their phones anymore!! Press or say 1 for.. if you.. then…press or say 85 times… sorry i didn’t get that.. press or say 8..5 times.. sorry all of our representitives are busy with “other customers” your call is important to us… please hold for the next available assistant… your call will be answered in less than …13 minutes… or you can try again later…(que music)… did you know you can find us ON-LINE!…blah blah.. we take all major credit cards…blah… (have you ever held on this long or do you hang/give up?)If they don’t take phone calls- why would I want to send them an e-mail?

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