Long customer service response times can be irritating.

So irritating that long response times can also make your customers end the business relationship.

In Helplama’s survey, 60% of respondents reported that they broke the business relationship with a company because response times were too long.

Moreover, SuperOffice reported that about 75% of customers claimed that the most important attribute of good customer service is a fast response time.

Have a look at the following chart to get a better understanding of the above-mentioned data:

 

fast-response-times-survey

Thus, the more you reduce your customer service response times, the more you increase customer satisfaction.

In this article, we will go through:

What Is Customer Service Response Time?

Customer Service response time can be defined as the time that you take to respond to customer inquiries, or complaints put up through numerous touchpoints (like via email, telephonic conversations on helpline numbers, chatbots, virtual tickets, etc).

With the rapid pace at which the current world functions, customers demand an equally fast service response during interactions. 

According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index, about 40% of customers expect a response within the first hour of reaching out on social media platforms, whereas, 79% of customers expect a response within the first 24 hours.

However, the first step towards solving a problem is first realizing that there is a problem. 

Do you provide Quick Responses to Customers?

A prominent issue in the customer service niche is that companies fail to follow up with customers to check if they are providing high-quality services.

According to a survey conducted by Bain & Company, about 80% of companies believe that they are providing premium customer services whereas only 8% of customers claimed that they received premium customer services.

Here are 3 methods that you could use to determine how much of this gap between customer service expectations and provisions did you manage to bridge:

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT):

The customer satisfaction score (CSAT), calculates the measure of customer satisfaction on a linear scale ranging from 1-3, 1-5, 1-7, or 1-10.

The formula for calculating CSAT score: (Total number of positive responses / Total responses collected) x 100

The following image represents the linear scorecard where customers provide feedback for your services:

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CSAT-score

According to HubSpot, a great CSAT score falls between 75%-85%. If you get a score of 75%, it essentially means that almost 3 out 4 customers liked your services.

2. Customer Effort Score (CES):

You can use CES to measure how easy it was for your customers to interact with your services

Moreover, an easy-to-use interface also contributes towards a good and satisfactory experience. 

According to a study published by Harvard, customers want quick and simple solutions to their problems. 

The following image is a demonstration of how CES feedback is collected:

ces-survey

3. Net Promoter Score: 

Using NPS will help you gauge the number of customers who are willing to promote your brand to others. This can help you find influencers for your brand within your customer base.

Keynote: “Word-of-mouth is now one of the most successful forms of advertisement.” 

Did you know that 88% of customers mostly trust word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know? NPS simply asks the customers if they are willing to recommend your services to others as shown in the following image by Medium:

NPS survey

If the above-mentioned surveys bring you unsatisfactory results, have a look at these 6 steps to shorten your customer response time and improve CX:

6 Pro Tips on How to Reduce Customer Service Response Time

Service response time takes a major hit when there is a flux in customer calls. These 6 steps will help you reduce your response times considerably. 

1. Set up an Automatic Email Response System:

You can incorporate an automated response system that responds to customer emails almost immediately. It puts the customers at ease letting them know that their complaints have been acknowledged and action will be taken shortly. 

Moreover, linking your automated email response system to your FAQ sites can further reduce your email response time.

If the questions asked have already been answered in previous queries, the automated response system can send them to the customers directly. 

Have a look at the following customer support email examples to get a better understanding of automated email responses:

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auto-reply-email

The sheer lack of empathy and personalized touch in this email will frustrate the customer and discourage him to continue doing business with your firm.

Instead, try using these formats to design an automated email response to put your customers at ease like this:

Example-of-out-of-office-email-auto-reply-messages

The following format can also be a great way of personalizing with the customer while maintaining transparency and providing a plan of action as well:

offering-multiple-options-auto-reply-messages

2. Prepare a Versatile Range of Canned Responses:

Canned responses can be defined as predetermined solutions to frequently asked questions. 

When a new ticket or query is posted by your customers, and it has already been asked before, these canned responses can be sent as an immediate plan of action, reducing your customer service response times drastically. 

You can also prepare additional canned responses for probable queries to provide solutions for a wider range of customer-raised issues. 

3. Reduce Incoming Calls by Providing Troubleshooting Options:

“Nip it in the bud!” you can simply aim to reduce the number of customer complaints by providing troubleshooting solutions to common customer issues. 

This will not only render your customers independent but will also reduce the inflow of customer calls, thereby improving response time for other customer complaints.

According to a survey, “73 percent of US consumers said that they should have the ability to solve most product and service issues on their own.” 

4. Use AI-Monitored Chatbots to Solve Recurring Issues:

Integrating your frontline with AI-monitored chatbots is a great way of reducing response times to customer queries and tickets. Not only is it accurate and time-saving but can also take off huge amounts of workloads from your employees. 

Chatbots when linked to FAQ pages and customer information can be used to personalize the customer service response and provide immediate solutions to recurring customer-raised issues. 

In fact, chatbots can be used to answer about 80% of standard questions.

5. Use Omnichannel Practices to Divert the Inflow of Tickets:

Omnichannel customer service software will help you provide customer support services throughout various channels. 

According to Freshdesk, 9 out of 10 customers prefer an omnichannel experience with seamless customer service.

This way you can distribute the tickets throughout multiple channels and prevent any individual channel from overcrowding.

Moreover, you can also improve engagement with customers via personalized data-centric strategies over multiple platforms.

6. Empower Your Customer Service Department:

You can empower your customer service team by authorizing them to take important decisions regarding customer-raised issues. 

Moreover, you should also ensure some transparency and coordination between the departments for quick retrieval of customer information.

This way, the customer service team can solve simple queries immediately, which would not only reduce the customer service response time but will also reduce the inflow of tickets, thereby reducing the workload for your technical team.

Additionally, empowering your them can help you can turn your client’s customers into advocates. That is especially true with Millennials, as recent research has found.

Now that you are equipped with the best practices to reduce your customer response time, have a look at the following benefits to help concrete your understanding of the importance of reduced customer service response times.

7. Use Live-chat for Customer Service

Live chat is convenient: 79% of customers say they like live chat because they get their questions answered immediately, and 51% like it because it allows them to multi-task.

Moreover, 31% of online shoppers from both the US and UK said they would be more likely to purchase after a live chat.

Use of chatbots for live-chat can significantly improve your customer response time and reduce your traffic and workload as well.

But make sure not to totally depend on chatbots as wrong responses and chatbot failure can also annoy your customers!

A optimized mix of chatbots and human to provide customer service through live chat can go a long way.

 Bonus tip: Allow customers to redirect interaction to a Human in case chatbot is unable to solve their query/issue.

Benefits of Improving Customer Service Response Times:

With numerous brands providing similar services to yours, what should you do to get an edge over your customers? 

The answer lies in providing the best customer experience. And, a reduced customer service response time is arguably the most important way to ensure a great customer experience.

Have a look at the following benefits of a good customer response time:

1. Improves CX:

Customers today expect companies to provide them with an immediate solution to their problems. 

As per research, 74 percent of customers will switch brands if their customer experience is too difficult.

2. Increases Customer Loyalty:

Customers who receive fast responses from a company are encouraged to continue engaging with them, thereby setting up a loyal customer base. 

Loyal Customers bring the following string of advantages for any given company:

  • Increase brand image
  • Increase positive word-of-mouth
  • Increase reliability
  • Maintain a constant inflow of revenue.

3. Increases Positive Word-of-Mouth Publicity:

Customers, when satisfied, tend to speak about their experiences in their circles. And, the best way of brand publicity is through word-of-mouth

What’s more? People trust recommendations from friends and families and are encouraged to make purchases.

We all like to be delighted. Surprise and delight create incredible word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.

Studies show that 92% of customers trust word-of-mouth recommendations while making purchases.

4. Improves Brand Image:

When your customers have a good experience while interacting with your brand, they provide you with good reviews. And, most customers today are influenced by online reviews while making a purchase.

According to Qualtrics, about 93% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase.

Moreover, quick solutions highlight your customer-centric values that can boost your company’s image exponentially.

5. Improves Reliability:

A reduced response time exhibits how much you value your customers. 

Moreover, when you’re able to provide accurate solutions to customer-raised issues, especially with a reduced response time, it improves customers’ perception of your brand. 

When enough people start talking about your brand (in a positive manner), it gradually builds up confidence amongst the people, thereby rendering reliability to your Brand.

Last Words:

With so many brands investing in improving their customer service teams, it is evident that brands that put their customers at the center of their businesses will rise above those that do not. 

One aspect that can greatly affect how customers perceive your brand is the time you take to respond to their complaints or issues. 

A quick response time ensures great satisfaction in a fast-paced world where time is of the essence.

If you are reading this, then you are already equipped with the best practices to ensure the quick provision of help to your customers. All that remains is for you to implement it.

If it seems overwhelming to you, Helplama can provide you with best-in-class US-based outsourced customer service within a few hundred dollars.