5 Strategies to Ensure Quick Response Times by Your Customer Support Team

Last Updated: August 27, 2021

Is your average customer service response time on par with the customer expectations? How responsible is your team about providing quick resolutions to tickets?

If you think that the speed of your customer support response doesn’t matter, think again. How quickly your customer service team responds to queries is one of the most critical factors in customer satisfaction. 53% of customers reported being irritated if they don’t speak to a real person right away, while 75% of customers think it takes too long for them to reach a live agent. Thankfully, you don’t have to lose out because of slow customer service or email responses. There are some easy and quick strategies you can follow to provide timely responses and keep your customers happy. 

Here are 5 of the best strategies to ensure quick response times.

Strategies to Improve Customer Response Time

1. Define your KPIs and Dedicate Resources Appropriately

By defining and measuring relevant KPIs, you will be able to make more effective decisions on when and how to dedicate your customer service resources. For example, these metrics will help you figure out peak and slow times, allow you to assign staff to decrease wait times proactively, and can also save you money by reducing staff for quieter periods. You can use business intelligence to identify common questions and answer them with dedicated knowledge base articles.

Your customer service team will be confused if they don’t know what they are working towards. KPI benchmarks give them direction and understanding of where they are with respect to their goals. Some crucial response time metrics you can measure are:

  • Average first response time
  • Average response time
  • Average resolution time
  • Average interactions per ticket
  • Response time per channel

Understanding first response time

Whether you are trying to answer a product query or address a disappointed customer, a fast first response could make all the difference. Read more.

2. Place Emphasis on Quicker Customer Support Channels

Certain channels such as live chat and chatbot are simply easier and more convenient to answer a number of customer service requests at once in shorter timeframes. No matter fast you reply, your email response times can never be under at least a couple of hours. A phone support agent can only handle one phone call at a time, whereas a live chat agent can handle multiple chats, allowing them to provide quicker customer service.

Emphasize and promote these channels, such as by offering proactive live chat invitations on your website, or by prominently featuring these particular customer service channels over others. Follow these quick live chat tips for faster chat responses.

Live Chat Tips

  • Provide additional self-service channels like a knowledge base and chatbot that can provide 24×7 support, covering the non-working or non-business hours of live chat agents. 
  • Use carefully crafted canned responses to send quick and consistent answers to frequently asked questions. 
  • Enable intelligent and quick routing to respective teams so that chats don’t queue up and lead to slow response times.
  • Identify peak chat times to manage resource allocation.
  • Identify pages where customers get stuck the most or spend the most time to write customized live chat messages for those pages.

You can also use some email tips to respond faster to customer service emails. Keep curated email templates and automated responses ready to acknowledge every new email. While auto-responses don’t count as first responses, your customer will feel assured that their issue will be taken care of. They need not waste time on follow-ups or feel restless until they receive a reply.  

3. Ensure Your Agents are Knowledgeable

Agents who are knowledgeable about your products and services will be able to offer solutions without having to take the time to consult supervisors or other resources, improving the reply times. This makes proper agent training key in providing a good customer experience. In addition to ensuring that your support team members are highly knowledgeable, you can also maximize their efforts with a detailed knowledge base and information they need to help the customer quickly.

Training your live chat agents

A well-trained customer support team is an asset to your company. There are 5 simple tips you can use to train your live chat agents. Read more.

4. Give Agency to Your Customer Support Agents

Does your customer service agent need to consult a supervisor every time they make a decision, i.e., when they offer a discount or special offer to a customer? Maybe you should follow the example of Ritz Carlton Hotels, who empowered every one of their employees to provide up to $2000 in discretionary spending without management sign-off to resolve guest issues. Providing quick responses depends on making quick decisions. There are instances where the agent may need to route the issue to an expert or check with the manager to make an interdependent decision, but not in all cases. 

By empowering the agents and giving them agency, you can allow them to provide quick solutions without having to bounce the customer around desks or restart the whole process.

5. Increase Self-Service Methods

The best way to ensure quicker response times is by not having to respond at all! By providing self-service methods such as chatbots, knowledge base, video tutorials, user forums, chat rooms, and FAQs, many customers can avoid having to contact the customer service team altogether, freeing up staff to solve issues that can’t be resolved otherwise. Some common automation and self-service best practices you can adopt are:

Chatbot Tips

  • Automate repetitive questions with AI-powered self-service bots. You can collect this information through surveys and help desk history.
  • Build effective chatbot flows based on industry best practices and business-specific use cases. This keeps interactions to the point and saves time.
  • Don’t write chatbots into a corner. Customers should be able to contact a human agent at any point they want to. Allow easy options for that.
  • For a more accessible customer service experience, add chatbots to your website as well as social media to provide immediate responses in real-time. 

Knowledge Base Tips

  • Keep the knowledge base updated. If not, customers will end up contacting the customer service department anyway, which defeats the purpose.
  • When you answer a customer query through email or live chat, attach relevant knowledge base articles in your reply. This is the easiest way to let your customers know your knowledge base exists. You will find lesser support queues and hence lesser wait times and faster response times.

Improved Response Time = Improved Customer Satisfaction

Fast response time is the most important attribute of great customer service, said 75% of respondents in a survey. Once you’ve incorporated your strategies, add HappyFox Chat to your arsenal to deliver fast and better support to your customers. Start your 14-day free trial, HappyFox Chat even offers Unlimited Agents on all pricing plans!