Testing responsiveness in a service industry


The latest issue of Realtor Magazine included their annual “30 under 30” list, featuring 30 successful Realtors who are still in their 20’s.

This morning I visited each of their Web sites, and sent an email to 23 of these top agents, congratulating them on their success and recognition in the magazine. I was also curious how quickly I would get responses.

In any service business, quick response times should be table stakes, but not all service providers are equally good at it. Some real estate industry studies indicate that as many as 50% of online and email inquiries to real estate agents go unresponded to.

I assumed that some of the nation’s top real estate agents would prove otherwise. Three hours after sending those 23 emails, these successful young agents were doing well.

  • One very smart agent used an auto-responder to provide an instant response to my email
  • Two agents responded within five minutes
  • Three others responded within two hours
  • One more responded within three hours

That’s a 30 percent response rate within three hours. For a group of busy, successful real estate agents who frequently are in the field (and not at their desks), that’s a great start.