Responding to Emails Promptly Builds Trust

email response time

As a small business, how long do you take to respond to your emails? A new infographic from developed by NowSourcing says people have email response time expectations. And if you don’t respond according to these expectations, they will lose trust in your company.

Titled, “A Day in the Life of The Email Economy: How Responsiveness Builds Trust” the report says responsive time is a nonverbal cue to your clients. It goes on to say longer response times lead to decreased interest. Additionally, failing to meet someone’s expected response time leaves them feeling frustrated and annoyed. In turn the nonverbal cues will speak volumes about your company.

As one of the best marketing tools in the digital ecosystem, email delivers high ROIs. This comes even as pundits forecasted it would die.

Email is Not Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

The death of email has been predicted for more than a decade now, but by 2022 the forecast says 126.7 trillion emails will be sent every year. This according to the infographic.

The report says 90% of every age group in America used email in 2017. For Gen Z, who were apparently going to ditch email entirely, it plays an important role. Sixty-five percent of this demographic uses email for their personal correspondence. Another 19% use it for school and 14% for work.  And when they do check their email, 58% do so several times a day, once a day (23%), several times a week (12%), once a week (5%), and one percent who never check their email.

Moreover 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning. This is before social media, news sites or Google.

Why is that?

This is because email is still the preferred method of communication for important messages. Whether it is personal or business, organizations across virtually all industries use email to let you know you got the job or you’ve been accepted.

Email is reliable and most people consider it safer than chat for their most personal correspondence. For businesses using email in their marketing campaign, this is an important point to recognize.

Because emails have high open rates, it is imperative to send emails that are worth opening. Otherwise, they are going to end up in the spam folder. The adage ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression’ is coldly decisive with email.

If they decide to respond, your response time will determine if they will do business with your company whether it is a consumer or another business.

Email Response Time

Out of all the emails received, 35% require a response, while another 25% require an immediate response.

This leads to the level of expectation respondents have when it comes to the time table. According to the report, 11% expect a response within 15 minutes, 19% one hour and 14% four hours. However, when it comes to sales leads the average time response is 42 hours.

So, how does the long response times translate in the real world? The report reveals companies that respond to inquiries within an hour are more likely to qualify the lead. They are also more successful than those taking two hours and 60X more than those taking more than 24 hours.

Living up to Email Response Time Expectations

Customer experience or CX has always been important, but in the digital age, it carries more weight. This is because consumers are interacting online without the help of a person. And if the platform is not optimized to deliver the best possible CX, customers will go elsewhere.

In this report, 80% of customers are more likely to continue using a business when they meet their expectations. These happy customers spend 67% more when they are ready to buy. Conversely, six in 10 will walk away after just a few bad experiences.

When you send out emails, make sure you meet the email response time expectations of your customers. This means you have to encourage your employees to make emails a priority, and as the report says, “Reset their email mindset.”

It starts by implementing systems and solutions so they can organize their inbox, set a goal, and promptly apologizing to customers if they are behind.  Similarly, set a clear expectation for responsiveness by creating an email policy that includes performing regular checks.

You can make all of this happen by using tools for fast and easy responses. This includes auto-replies that show their email has been received and they will get a response for their inquiry promptly.

Take a look at the infographic from for more.



Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.