Email response time is a key metric for your business. Whether capitalizing on a red hot lead or making sure your customer service is on point. Responding to customers or potential customers quickly is going to benefit you in the long run and see your revenue increase.

So what’s the benchmark for good email reply time? and what kind of performance do you need to be achieving to keep you ahead of your competitors?

According to a recent Google survey, 44% of consumers expect a response within 4 hours and a massive 87%, within a day.

Note here, that the consumers were surveyed on what they expect not what they want meaning that in order to truly keep buyers happy you need to be bettering these expectations.

It’s vital then, that you’re tracking email response time throughout your company and making sure customers and leads are not left waiting. Remember 78% of sales go to the first company to respond.

Average Email Response Time By Industry

To help you get an idea of how your competitors are likely to perform when it comes to email response times, we’ve put together some research on average response times across five huge industries; Corporate Travel, Finance, Logistics, Real Estate and Retail.

Let’s see how each one measures up…

 

Corporate Travel

According to a study by HiverHQ, the average response time for a customer or potential customer emailing a Corporate Travel business is 36 hours.

*Spoiler Alert* This is the worst across all the industries we’ll look at in this article. In fact, if you were to halve this time, it’d still be the worst.

This is quite shocking and when you consider the potential value each consumer has to businesses in this industry, this statistic points to a lot of money being left on the table.

Leaving a customer this long before a reply, carries the heavy risk of annoying them. Not only losing one potential sale but multiple through negative word of mouth.

 

Finance

Our research shows a better showing for the Finance sector, though not mind-blowing speeds at an average of 14 hours.

This is still a long time to wait for an email response and gives leads plenty of time to find other options in a heavily saturated market.

The Finance industry is enormously populated with ads, affiliates, promoted content, etc. and getting a lead is tough enough – so why wait to respond to them once you have them on the hook and risk them wriggling off?

Faster response time would ensure that all that advertising spend doesn’t go to waste.

 

Logistics

The logistics industry is our best performing, coming in at 12 hours.

An average response time of 12 hours might sound good (and relatively speaking, it is). But, remember nearly half of people sending emails expect a response within 4 hours. This is three times worse than that.

Still, congratulations to the Logistics sector for being the fastest on our list.

 

Real Estate

With an average of 15 hours, at first glance, the Real Estate sector isn’t doing too badly.

But, delving deeper into some of the statistics did give us a bit of a startle. According to an in-depth study by wavgroup.com, 48% of buyer enquiries were never responded to!

That’s half of the enquiries, just ignored… try to imagine that in lost revenue, it’s huge.

 

Retail

The retail industry is massive, worth 3.6 trillion dollars in the US alone. If any industry has mastered responding to leads and customers quickly, it must be this one right?

Well, no.

Our research found that the average email reply time for retail businesses is 17 hours.

There are of course some outliers here (as with every industry). Behemoths like Disney’s retail department, Abercrombie and Officedepot have all managed to get their averages down below 2 hours. Which according to the Google research at the start of this article is likely to keep shoppers happy.

It also shows why they’re at the top of their game. Imagine contacting two retail businesses. One responds in under 2 hours, the other a whole 15 hours after that – it’s not even a competition as to who you’ll end up spending with.

 

Summary of Email Reply Times in Graph Format

As you can see from the graph below, businesses across all industries (except Corporate Travel – which is an outlier for all the wrong reasons) take roughly 14-15 hours to get back to enquiries made by email.

Email Response Times

Based on market research and consumer expectation, it’s safe to say that businesses are losing out on a huge amount of revenue.

It’s important in business not to leave anything on the table and by something as simple as implementing email response time analytics tracking to measure email response time, beating the average would be easy.

Responding to emails quickly should be more than a company goal it should be a standard of practice. So… how do you measure up? Do you think you’re faster than the average in your industry?

Start a free trial of timetoreply’s email response time analytics to help you find out.

 

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