Survey Says: Want Less Facebook, More Face Time? You're Not Alone
Ninety-seven percent of business travelers rate face-to-face interaction as the most important factor in their relationships with clients.
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It may be easier (and cheaper) to skip business travel in favor of videoconferencing or chatting on social media, but is it smart? Do you feel inadequate because your email inbox is relatively clean, while everyone else has umpteen million emails in theirs? Well, the reality is a lot less dramatic. Here's a closer look at some of the latest small-business surveys.
There's No Place Like Hotel
You might think that videoconferencing, social media and other technology tools have made business travel obsolete. Think again: According to Embassy Suites Hotels' Third Annual Business Travel Survey, nothing replaces face time. An overwhelming 97 percent of business travelers surveyed believe face-to-face interaction is the most important factor in developing and maintaining strong client relationships. In fact, they say it would take an average of five videoconferences, 10 phone calls or 20 emails to replace just one hour of in-person client contact.
Respondents' worries that their business relationships would suffer without face time weren't idle fears. Nearly one in five business travelers (18 percent) say they didn't land a project because they couldn't travel to see a client -- and what's worse, 17 percent report losing the client altogether.
I really agree with this one. As much time as I spend talking via email and Twitter to my clients, nothing beats meeting up with them in person.
Email Overload Is Overrated
While email overload is widely bemoaned, a new survey by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls reveals most small- and midsized-business professionals have the problem more under control than expected. The survey, Cloud Computing and the Role of IT Professionals in Small- to Mid-Sized Businesses, asked respondents how many unread emails they had in their inboxes. I'm surprised (and impressed!) to hear the vast majority (80 percent) had 50 or fewer. Here's the rest of the breakdown:
•51-100 emails: 7 percent
• 101-250 emails: 6 percent
• 251-500 emails: 2 percent
• 501-1,000 emails: 3 percent
One percent of respondents are seriously email challenged, with 1,001 to 2,500 unread emails in their inboxes -- another 1 percent is even worse off, with 2,501 to 5,000 unread emails in their inboxes. The good news is these numbers do add up to 100 percent, meaning there were no poor souls out there with more than 5,000 unread emails (or maybe they were just too embarrassed to admit it).
Satisfaction (Almost) Guaranteed
Do you resist doing customer satisfaction surveys because you're worried the results will be negative? Have no fear. According to a recent study of more than 1,400 U.S. consumers by Chadwick Martin Bailey, the overwhelming reason customers complete satisfaction surveys is to share positive experiences with a business.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they complete surveys to share a good experience -- 50 percent do so to help the company improve. Although survey respondents have the company's best interests at heart, a little incentive doesn't hurt: Forty percent report completing surveys to get discounts, and 40 percent say they do so to enter contests or sweepstakes.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.