The number one complaint we receive from charter-seeking customers who use BusRates.com may surprise you: “I never received a response from the company I selected” is the most common problem we hear from users.
The majority of visitors of BusRates.com call listed companies directly, but about 20% submit their trip details using our online form. These form submissions are directly emailed to the companies the visitor selects. On average, visitors select between 3 and 4 companies when using this method.
A study on company follow-up to these emailed RFQs in 2015 revealed a 13% no-reply rate. As BusRates.com does not interfere with the booking process, the solution to this problem is wholly dependent on our listed companies. We’ve heard a variety of reasons why a company would not respond to a customer request and have compiled three main tips to ensure that not only does the visitor receive a response from their selected company so that you can securing the booking you’re looking for.
If you are unable to reply to RFQs as they come in, set up a dedicated email address for your company (like firstname.lastname@example.org) and set that email address to send an auto-reply to the customer while forwarding the email to your address where you can reply at a more convenient time.
The auto-reply should be a courteous message with your company name, contact information, and brief company details (USDOT number, a link to your SAFER profile, listed associations, and other value statements to indirectly sell your company are also appropriate). If you are more accessible by phone than by email, make sure the auto-reply clearly lists your phone number and instructions to call it for a quicker reply.
This auto-reply serves two purposes. One, it confirms with the customer that their request was received by you, and it also reinforces your company name and provides them with alternative means to contact you.
If you are booked up for the dates that the visitor requests, we encourage companies to politely inform the customer of this. It’s a worthwhile practice as some customers can be flexible with their dates. Again, your response puts your company name and contact info in front of the customer for the second time. It’s also a demonstration of courteous customer service.
The third most common issue with companies not replying to customers’ RFQs is because the RFQs are no longer reaching the right people at the company. Employee turnover is a typical culprit here (the person who used to handle the BusRates RFQs no longer works there and the new employee either doesn’t have access to the BusRates account or doesn’t know how to handle them).
This spam problem can be on both the client and customer side. Because RFQs from BusRates.com are sent from one mail server but include the actual customer’s reply-to address, some network setups (in an attempt to block all invasive emails) accidentally block legitimate emails like our RFQs. Conversely, the client may respond to the RFQ but the requestor’s email has put the response into their spam folder. So in short? Check your spam folders regularly, you may be surprised what you find not only from BusRates but from others as well.
And to make sure you don’t miss anything you should avail yourself of the traffic reports on the site. You can view your full traffic report including all RFQs and their details at any time by logging into the My Account area on BusRates.com. The RFQs are always accessible here. If you find that your network is blocking emails from BusRates.com, you would need to contact your company’s IT person or internet service provider in order to lift the block.