Average Response Time

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Average response time

What is average response time?

If you’re trying to figure out the meaning of the average response time metric, here’s what you need to know: your average response time is the average amount of time that your support team takes to respond to support requests from your customers. Response times may vary depending on your industry and the channel over which you received the support request. For example, you may take more time to respond to requests that flow in over email than you would take to respond to requests that come in over social media, your average response time for your website might also be different compared to these other channels.

Average Response Time in hours
Source: Jitbit

What is average first response time?

Your average first response time is pretty much the same as your average response time. It refers to the time that passes between the moment that your customers raise a support ticket and the moment at which your live agents or virtual agents respond to it. A baseline First Response Time (FRT) is generally included in most companies’ service level agreements (SLAs). This means that they are committing to responding to their customers within a specified timeframe. You could also refer to your First Response Time as your First Reply Time.

What is a good average response time?

Different industries and sectors have different expectations about your average response time. But the ideal average response time also varies based on the channel that your customers are using to reach you over. As an example, if your customers are reaching you over email, anything within 24 hours would be considered to be a good average response time. But on social media, a good average response time would have to come under 60 minutes, no more. For phone calls, three minutes is a good average response time. 

You should figure out ways to reach your customer support team’s sweet spot, where they can respond to customer queries quickly but aren’t pushed to the point where they are super stressed and the quality of their responses is negatively impacted. If you push them to that point, it will all be in vain, because they’ll not be able to help your customers out effectively, and that will result in a particularly poor customer experience.

However, if you deploy chatbots on the messaging platforms that your customers use to reach you over, you can manage to achieve an excellent average response time, with barely any effort and avoid burnout as well. Your bot can answer around 80% of your customer queries instantly, without making your customers wait at all. And even though the other 20% are passed on to live chat agents, your bot still makes sure you have a low first response time, so that your customers know that you haven’t left them on their own.

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Why is it important to have a low average response time?

Sure, maybe with some support requests it’s very obvious that they’ll take a lot of time to get resolved. But you still need to respond to them as quickly as possible. It shows your customers that you have their back won’t leave them hanging. Your average response time is directly correlated with customer satisfaction. If you respond to customers quickly, or better yet… instantly, your customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores tend to go up. Your customers just don’t want to wait to get their questions answered and their issues resolved.

When you have a lower average response time, your customers feel less anxious. Even if you just send an acknowledgment of the fact that you’re working on a solution to their issue, it reassures them and makes them feel better than they would otherwise feel.

This results in higher levels of customer satisfaction, increased retention rates, and a spike in your customer lifetime value.

It’s also critical for sales, because if you keep your prospects waiting long enough, they’ll probably move on to another vendor. They’d either forget that they got in touch with you or worse… remember the frustrating experience of having to wait a ridiculous amount of time and not want to do business with you at all.

The amount of time keep your leads waiting for a response serves as an indicator of how helpful you will be to them after they make the purchase. And nobody wants to be left helpless if they’re facing issues with your product while working on an urgent deadline.

Even if you can’t solve complex customer queries quickly or immediately, responding quickly shows your customers that you have their back. A fast reply would ensure that they know that you’re working on the issue and they don’t need to keep worrying.

How do you calculate average response time? Or Formula of average response time

If you are trying to figure out how you can work out your organization’s average response time calculation, we’ve got your back. Here’s a simple average response time formula that you could use:

Average response time = (Total time taken to respond to requests during a specific period) / (Total number of responses sent during that period)

Since you would calculate response time for every response that your team sends, not just for every ticket, you would need to calculate the average response time for all the responses that your support team sent during a particular time period.

Average Response Time formula
Source: CustomerThink

How do you lower your average response time?

Here are a few effective ways of minimizing your average response time.

1. Chatbots 

Chatbots can slash your average response time drastically. You can use them to provide instant responses to your customers and leads. You could even set a delay of a couple of seconds to make the interaction seem more natural.

In addition to shortening your response time, intelligent chatbots could even handle most of your customer queries on your own, sending only the complex ones to live agents, thus increasing your First Contact Resolution Rate as well.

2. Email autoresponders

These may not answer your customers’ queries immediately, but they serve as an acknowledgment that their query has been received and will be answered. Sometimes that’s all it takes to reduce the anxiety that your customers face, not knowing whether their email has been ignored.

3. Template messages

Many of the messages that your support agents have to send are repetitive. They could speed things up by using pre-saved template messages (like the Quick Replies on Engati Live Chat) that only need a small amount of personalization.

Is there any difference between waiting time and first response time?

Waiting time refers to the duration customers waits before a company representative addresses their calls or emails. Waiting time fluctuates given the calls traffic or average queries handled daily. You must have had this experience where IVR would have kept you on hold stating "We will connect you to the next available customer service executive." Companies try to reduce their average waiting time to deliver instant customer support. 

Whereas First Response Time (FRT), is the average amount of time taken for an agent to provide an initial response to a customer inquiry or support ticket.

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