We read a very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about a study on email response patterns conducted by Yahoo Labs and the University of Southern California. They looked at 16 billion emails – yes, that was billion – exchanged among 2 million Yahoo users, measuring the time it took to reply, the length of replies and the number of emails answers, all placed in categories for age and gender. The study was presented at the International World Wide Web Conference in Italy.
The biggest difference in behavior came not from gender, but from age. Since your estate planning practice likely works mostly with people in the two oldest categories, 36-50 years of age and 51 and older, we think this is information that may be helpful as you prepare to deploy the E2-Dashboard CRM (Client Relationship Management system).
Part of the beauty of the E2-Dashboard CRM is the system’s ability to send out emails that are designed to respond to specific triggers, calendar items, and other actions by your firm. You may use it to send out birthday greetings, holiday cards, follow up from workshops or community events, changes in the law that impact your clients, etc. But whatever you use the E2-Dashboard CRM for, you’ll wonder – what happens next? When should you expect to hear back from your audience?
You might need to shift your expectations, according to this study. Young people and teens respond almost immediately. But as you move into the older demographics, response times change. People in the 20–35 year bracket respond in around 16 minutes. Ages 36-50 respond in 24 minutes. Then it gets way longer – for people 51 and older, the median response time is 47 minutes –an eternity in online time.
What the study did not measure, and we would have found this helpful, is whether the email correspondence was taking place during working hours and if these were emails regarding work or personal matters. However, there are still insights that can be gleaned from the study.
Don’t expect a rapid response to your emails from everyone. Based on our own experience, we would say if you receive a response to an email within a day or two from a non-client, that’s pretty good. Clients who receive reminders may be more likely to respond faster, particularly if they are comfortable managing their emails on a smart phone.
Understand that not all who are in the 51 and older category are early adapters. Some are Luddites, even when their grandchildren ask them to become active on social media. So you may find that some prospects don’t respond at all to emails. With the E2-Dashboard CRM, you will easily see who doesn’t open your emails. Then you’ll know that they need a phone call if you want to reach them with a particular message, if that is appropriate. And you will also have the option of sending a printed, direct-mail piece. Did you know - your E2-Dashboard CRM helps you accomplish that with an integrated print-on-demand application so you can choose and send your direct mail marketing right from within your E2 Dashboard CRM!
This is another example of how data presents a wealth of useful information that can be used to make your practice better at reaching out to prospects, managing your client relationships and making your firm more efficient and more profitable.