Today, there is a big emphasis on productivity in sales and customer service. Increasingly, customers are given tools to place their own orders, check on their status, and so on. In-person sales calls cost hundreds of dollars (some estimates run over a thousand dollars), so an emphasis on efficiency is understandable. And, as a customer myself, I appreciate being able to initiate orders, check on them, etc. at any time of the day or night. CRM software further strives to improve the efficiency of sales contacts by helping separate customers into priority groups, with the most important getting the most contact.

In this drive for efficiency, though, companies need to be aware of the importance of contact time to the customer relationship. Let’s look at three wildly different groups of “customers” and see how contact time played an important role in their satisfaction. […]