Regardless of when you read this post, there is less than a third of a percent change that today is actually Halloween.
For those that legitimately unsure if today is Halloween or not, Halloween falls on the same day every year, October 31st.
But the point of this post isn’t to lay some early SEO groundwork for next year’s Halloween. In fact, by way of Holiday API™, I’ve already laid that ground work.
The point is to talk about the weird questions that come to me via email and chat bots by way of the aforementioned Holiday API service.
I like being accessible to my [potential] customers and strive to not only respond to every email, but to do so same day (during the week) and generally speaking, within 12 hours of receipt.
That being said, I do get some inquiries that are questionable at best in terms of whether or not I should even bother responding to them. The most notable of these types of messages include:
- “Is tomorrow Halloween? Yes or no?” (sent from a page with the list of Halloween dates on it)
- “Hi”, “Hello”, et cetera (and nothing else)
- “How much does your service cost?” (sent FROM the pricing page)
- “test”, “asdf”, et cetera (again, nothing else)
And my recent favorite:
- “I need some funds. I will pay back in two days time from now.”
Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of great messages and often times there are actionable improvements that I can (and do) make to the site to help ensure those inquiries don’t happen again.
Then there are the rest of them.
Sadly, in my experience thus far, the bulk of the “throw aways” are via the chat bot, and not via email. Email holds a higher barrier of entry, which I think keeps people from just firing off a message all willy nilly.
Interestingly enough, of the legitimate sales inquiries I’ve received over a chat bot, nearly all of them fall through, whereas inquiries over email tend to always come through.
The other thing that the chat bot creates is a sense of my own immediate availability. To the point that one time, after an hour of conversation with a potential customer, they hit me up over the weekend making demands that I give them free access to the service because they were under the gun on a project.
That particular interaction was nearly enough to take the chat bot down and stick to email indefinitely. I didn’t do so, because I do think there is still the value add of striping away the aforementioned barrier of entry to communicate.
To help things after that experience, I did mark myself as permanently away, with a nice message that somebody will get back with them later, to help set a precedent that I’m not actually sitting right there waiting for them.
The chat bot lives another day, but not a month goes by where I question it’s value. Perhaps if I actually started to formally track the sales conversion rate, I’d have enough empirical evidence to swing one way or another.