When Emailing Vendors, Clients Want Auto-acknowledgments and Same-Day Answers

A fifth of American adults (22%) need to communicate with vendors or suppliers to the organization they work for.

When these workers have to email a vendor, 41% report that it is extremely important to receive “an immediate response from a bot or representative simply acknowledging receipt of [the] email,” and 33% say it is very important. Representing the small group that dislike automated replies, one respondent commented, “auto responses are annoying and completely useless.”

When it comes to receiving an actual answer, rather than simply an acknowledgment, 36% would rate it excellent to receive a response the next day (and another 37% good, and 21% acceptable). To receive an answer the same business day but after work hours, 48% rate the service excellent. Excellent ratings climb with responsiveness, from 51% rating it excellent for 6 hours to 76% rating it excellent for 1 hour.

Getting an email after work hours is generally perceived as favorable. The top three reactions: “helpful” (34%), “professional” (26%), and “fine since will deal with it at work” (25%). Negative reactions include “vendor is overworked” (24%), “unprofessional” (12%), and “annoyed since need to deal with it then” (9%).

The number-one pet peeve is getting no response at all, followed by slow responses. The third is miscommunications:

  • “Most of the time they don’t respond to the question asked.”
  • “They don’t take the time to carefully read the question I have.”
  • “Sometimes they don’t really read the question and give you the wrong answer.”
  • “The number one pet peeve is when they ask questions that are clearly stated in the email.”
  • “If they ask me questions that were already answered.”
  • “Don’t answer all my questions.”
  • “Short emails which doesn’t answer my questions or concerns.”
  • “They don’t answer question.”
  • “When they ask time-delaying questions.”

This survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was fielded online from April 5 to 7, 2019. For more, please check out the slides and general methodology.

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.