Businesses don’t drive changes. Customers do. 10 years ago, the average customer service response time was 24 hours. Fast forward to today, customers are exposed to thousands of brands competing to differentiate themselves by exceptional customer service experience. It has become a norm to deliver customers the experience they want — and fast.
What is Customer Service Response Time?
Customer service response time is the amount of time elapsed between a customer submits a query and the support team gives the first response. Automated responses don’t count. Depending on the industry and the role of customer support in it, the average response times vary, but not much.
In 2020, 75% of customers say that the most important attribute of customer service is fast response time. It is the hallmark of a customer-centric business. Now, how equipped are you to handle this? Let’s take a look at 6 proven ways to improve your customer service response time.
How to improve your customer service response time?
- Set up Automatic Response to Let Customers Know They Will Hear Back Soon
- Expand Canned Responses to Fit a Vast Range of Common Queries
- Categorize Queries Based on Priority
- Set up Omnichannel Strategy to Distribute Support Volume
- Leverage Automation to Empower Customers with Self-service
- Set Realistic Goals & Come up with Efficient Ways to Track Response Time
Automated email response is the confirmation email you receive after sending an email query. Automatic responses are generic templates that don’t bring any specific value to the query received. Nor are they counted as first responses. Automatic response is a valuable email management tool that assures your customer that you have received the query and are currently working on it.
Also, by linking your automated email response to FAQ pages and Community Forums, you can introduce your customers to your self-service tools. Thus, automatic responses don’t affect your response time directly in any way, but they help you paint a realistic picture of when customers can expect their query addressed.
Canned Responses are pre-formatted responses to common questions. Leverage your event logs and support data to come up with Canned Responses for a vast range of common queries. Default email templates are often unusable because they are not tailored to your business. By investing some time to customize your Canned Response templates, you can also reduce steps taken to resolve a query.
For instance, say you get a lot of logistics queries that require a major part of response time to be spent on collecting the customer’s order number and query statement. You can set up your Canned Response to ask and collect these responses, making the query ready to solve when it reaches the right hands.
First in first out may not be the ideal technique when it comes to customer support. Every query is important. But not every query is urgent. Treating every query as urgent and top-priority has no advantage. Categorize your email queries based on the minimum time to resolve, the complexity of the issue, time-sensitivity, and any follow-ups made.
Categorizing queries will give your support team members the choice to handle queries based on the similarity of subject matter and the difficulty level. It makes finding solutions easy and improves productivity across the customer service team. You can use one of the many Automation software available today to set the thumb rule for this categorization.
One of the steps to manage a flooding inbox is to prevent flooding. Omnichannel help desk software will help you provide multiple channels for customers to interact, thereby decentralizing queries and preventing individual channels from getting queued. Every query is unique by nature; some can be solved in detailed customer service emails, some just need an FAQ page. Identifying which query is which and routing them to the right source will save the time and effort spent on every query.
In addition, most brands don’t make it easy for customers to find their self-service resources. Combined with subpar search functions and missed plugin options, this will only lead to customers not benefitting from their omnichannel efforts at all. Maximize your omnichannel benefits by incorporating social media and other customer service channels on your email signature for easy navigation. Integrating customer service interaction is the key benefit of the omnichannel approach.
We can’t talk about improving customer response time without mentioning self-service enough. Automating customer support processes, the recurring ones, will have a huge impact on your response timeframe. Although Self-service has been around for a while now, it is quite the buzzword in customer service these days. A recent survey showed that more than 90% of customers prefer a knowledge base to phone calls if it’s resourceful. This shows that customers don’t always want or even need to talk to the customer service team every time they have a service request. They are happy with being guided towards the right answers.
Customer experience surveys time and again establish the direct correlation between faster response times and greater customer satisfaction. Responding to a customer service email within an hour sounds impressive. But according to a SuperOffice survey, an average company takes 12 hours and 10 minutes to respond to a new email. With every company working towards competitive email response times, you would have expected a different number. Sometimes, it may simply be unrealistic for your business. That does not mean you should be happy with slow responses as well. You should find the balance when you set the goals.
The road to great customer service reply times starts with the goals you set. The assessments you do before setting up these KPI metrics will give you insight into the adequacy of your staffing, what benchmarks your competitors follow, and where you can improve. Set goals you can achieve and promise the same to your customers so they know what to expect. Compare goal vs outcome and set up efficient ways to track your first response times. It is only then can you understand the capabilities of your customer service department and incorporate the learnings in your future goals.
No matter what happens, customers won’t trade quality responses for faster responses. A weak fast response that only leads to multiple back and forth is of no use. Find the balance, and up your customer service response time gradually. Sign up for a demo to see how HappyFox Help Desk software can help you improve your overall customer service competency.