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 short and long term, 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 Per 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…
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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.
The Finance sector does a little better and rings in at an average of 14 hours for an email response time.
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.
The logistics industry is the best performer of the lot, coming in at 12 hours for an email response time.
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.
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 inquiries were never responded to!
That’s half of the inquiries, just ignored… try to imagine that in lost revenue, it’s huge.
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?
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. That’s likely to keep shoppers happy, which is great.
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.
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 inquiries made by email.
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 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?
Email Response Time References
- Real Estate: 15 hours https://www.wavgroup.com/2014/01/13/agent-responsiveness-study-reveals-critical-flaws-in-real-estate-lead-response/
- Corporate Travel: 36 hours https://hiverhq.com/blog/customer-service-metrics
- Logistics: 12 hours https://www.superoffice.com/
- Financial Sector: 14 hours Www.smartinsights.com
- Retail: 17 hours https://www.helpscout.com/helpu/email-customer-service-whats-an-acceptable-reply-time/
- 44% of consumers expect a response within 4 hours. 87% within a day. https://surveys.google.com/reporting/question?hl=en-GB&survey=ptvll7mwpmu4cngubyzybq2yau&question=1&raw=false&transpose=false&tab=chart&synonyms=true