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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Colorado / Florida
    Acceptable OPM / AM Response Times
    As a merchant who manages its own programs, it has always been an important issue to me that we respond to affiliate inquiries or communications as quickly as possible.

    Of course, there are those times in which the workload on one's plate may delay responding for a day, but I have always shot for getting back to an affiliate within three hours or less provided the inquiry was received before 2 p.m. MTZ.

    Over the years here, I've occasionally noticed an affiliate expressing disappointment, frustration etc, when they do not receive a timely reply from their merchant / OPM / AM, but I do not recall if a consensus was ever noted on a response time that is overall acceptable to a majority of affiliates.

    I remember attending Andy's AM Certification course in Chicago in August of 2006, at which he was very clear about the need / benefit to responding quickly to affiliates. As an old school "offline" businessman for many years, that was an understatement, but in the internet age, it apparently is an issue that is overlooked by some once they have the affiliates on board.

    With this in mind, what do affiliates here feel is an acceptable / professional response time when an OPM, Merchant or AM receives a contact / request from an affiliate? Feel free to comment on experiences at both ends of the spectrum.
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  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    While I appreciate immediate feedback/response, I know that it is not normally feasible. Realistically, I expect a response within a few hours (your three-hour target is excellent), but don't get "annoyed" unless it goes beyond COB of the next (business) day.

    Even though some of us seem to work all the time, or at least, very strange hours; we must realize this is a business. Large companies really do work on a "business" schedule - which does not include weekends and/or 3:00 a.m. coding sessions.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    April 6th, 2006
    I feel that within a couple of days is perfectly acceptable, depending on the nature of the enquiry - standard questions don't really need a 3-hr turnaround .. but if I stamp the subject urgent, it usually means it is

    Rule of thumb is that if I don't receive a reply within 3 days, I probably have to send a follow-request one week later.

    The fastest response always earns points in my book - and I will give preferential treatment to that merchant as they recognize this is a professional relationship. But I also understand that our email inboxes can be flooded, which is why I am realistic in my expectations.

    Another minor point (and it's something I always do).. when you're late with a response, it's not a bad idea to say "sorry for slight delay".. common courtesy!

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Good points Alan with iPhone, email, IM, Text message, no excuses in the internet age.

    If you care about growing your program and see your business even as an AM/OPM and with good customer service friendly to affiliates or merchants, should be responding within a 1 - 4hr window, yes even on weekends. Only time off is 'sleep time' which is max 8hr window.

  5. #5
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    I would say 3 hours unless its the middle of the night in which case I am sleeping also. Of course I don't do the usual email tag I pick up the phone when there is a problem.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager PaulS's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    I think, as long as you reply as soon as you possibly can affiliates will appreciate it.

    I try to stick within the 3 - 4 hour mark (but weekends aren't always possible because - as much as I hate to admit it - I do enjoy time off every once in a while, not just for sleeping... )

    I often will surprise affiliates by responding within 10 - 15 minutes... which is fun.

    Even if you don't have what that they are asking for readily available, at least respond to let them know that you've got their email and you're working on it... so they know you know what they need.

    Nobody is perfect, so if you do slip up and miss an email, apologize for it (common courtesy as someone noted above).


  7. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 19th, 2006
    The Windy City
    Alan, the best answer I can give to your questions is, it depends. It really depends on the urgency of my original message, how long it could take to solve a particular issue and the impact on my income of a delayed response.

    While I tend to think that everything that I need (want) is of the utmost urgency, there may be other things on your plate that I don't know about that may trump my need for an off sized banner. So sometimes a quick message that simply says "I'll get back to you in a a couple of days is sufficient". However if I wrote you about a tracking issue, a reversal or anything else that has an impact on income, then you can assume that there is a sense of urgency that requires an immediate response, if not sooner.

    Typically, if I hear back from an AM within a day or two I'm thrilled which in my former business world would have been considered totally unacceptable. There's something to be said for lowered expectations.

    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    It depends on the issue - If you've reversed thousands of dollars of sales without an explanation, then within the hour is a good time frame.

    If all of your links aren't working a working day is fine. Quite frankly a few days is okay with me. Or an email saying your swamped and will get back to me is fine - for most issues.

    I've designed my business model to include nearly a 1,000 merchants, so no one merchant should matter very much. But sometimes 1 or 2 take off and become more important, and then I get a little antsy.

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