A Guide To Improving Customer Response Time

 

The digital age has introduced immense benefits to companies and consumers alike. Today, nearly every product and service under the sun is available at the press of a button or swipe of a smartphone app.

While this innovation has brought incredible convenience to the lives of millions of people, it’s not without its downsides to companies. Today, customers expect instant gratification and quick resolution to any service issues they may experience.

Considering the always-on nature of the modern economy, companies need to be ready and able to receive, consider, respond to and resolve any inbound customer service requests, or risk losing that customer.

And if there’s one channel that needs to be the focus of every customer-centric business, it’s email.

As the most popular customer service and communication channel, email has never played a more important role in the success of customer-focused businesses. If you want to build a reputation as a business that puts the customer first, you need to keep a close eye on your email performance and ensure no customer requests go unanswered or unresolved.

It’s worrying then to consider that in a survey of more than a thousand companies, 62% did not respond to a customer service request, and 97% didn’t follow up with customers even when they did respond.

More alarming is the time it takes many companies to respond to customers. In that same survey of over a thousand companies, the average response time to handle a customer service request was 12 hours.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at the importance of a fast customer response time, share some tips for how companies can cut down on the time it takes them to respond to customer requests, and highlight the role of technology tools in helping companies take charge of their email performance.

 

What is a customer response time

 

Customer response time is the amount of time it takes for a company to respond to an inbound customer service request. This doesn’t include the automated responses many companies provide to acknowledge receipt of a customer service request. Only a real, considered response from a qualified customer service or support representative counts.

 

Benefits of having a fast customer response time

 

Still not convinced that your business needs a speedy response time to customer service requests? Consider these benefits to boosting your team’s email performance and getting those customer issues resolved quickly and efficiently:

 

1. Deliver a great customer experience

 

If the analysts are to be believed, customer experience is now a more important factor in purchasing behaviour than product or price. Long after customers forget details of what your product or service does, they’ll remember how they felt interacting with your business.

One of the best ways to deliver a great customer experience is to be responsive to customer needs. And at the top of that list is the need to be heard and valued.

If you want to deliver a consistently great customer experience, start by making sure you acknowledge, respond to and resolve customer requests as quickly and efficiently as possible. This helps build goodwill and leaves customers feeling valued – even when things may go wrong.

 

2. Boost customer loyalty

 

It is far harder – and more expensive – to gain new customers than it is to simply retain the ones you already have. In fact, some studies suggest the cost for acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one.

Companies that prioritise a quick response time to customer requests can save themselves from these costs by ensuring every customer feels valued and is less likely to leave for a competitor.

This can help build a healthy customer-first culture that can support your business growth and boost profits, which brings us to our next benefit.

 

3. Save money and boost profits

 

The cost of acquiring a new customer is one thing, but what about the damage it does to your reputation when customer leave feeling unhappy and undervalued?

No modern company can succeed if they regularly lose customers due to poor service. Unhappy customers stop spending money with you, and will likely tell their friends and family to avoid your company at all costs.

Happy customers, on the other hand, spend more, are far more likely to recommend you to others, and may even become your greatest advocates as they spread the word about the superb customer service they receive from your company.

 

Best practices to reduce customer service response time

 

1. Measurement is key

 

Measurement is vital for customer service teams wishing to track and improve their customer service response time. The moment you are able to measure something, you can more easily manage it.

However, it’s far too time-consuming and inefficient to expect team members or managers to manually track response times or to reconcile response times to time stamps in the sent and received emails.

Customer service analytics tools can help companies better understand their current response times and identify bottlenecks. Better yet, they gather and process data in the background, leaving your customer-facing teams free to focus on the most important thing: responding to – and resolving – that customer service request.

 

2. Your culture is critical

 

All the tools, plans and policies for improving your response time won’t mean much if you don’t have every member of the team working together. Building a company-wide culture that prioritises quick customer response times is critical to the success of every company.

However, the sheer volume of inbound emails makes it a near-certainty that at some point, an email may get lost, or a response may come too late. This can damage the customer experience and leave customers feeling unhappy and undervalued.

To build a powerful, customer-focused company culture, ensure every person in the business is aligned to a shared vision and make sure your teams are well-supported with the latest tech tools.

 

3. Specialist tech tools are essential

 

As we mentioned in earlier, it’s nearly impossible to track and measure customer response times without the help of a specialised tool. Luckily, companies have never had more choice in the technology tools at their disposal.

Some of the best email management software solutions easily integrates to any email platform of choice and produces a broad range of customer service metrics and other data points that can significantly improve the level of service offered to customers.

Many email response management software tools also offer customer service email response templates that can cut out a lot of hard work and ensure you focus on what’s most important: deliver amazing customer service every step of the way.

 

How Customer Service Email Software Can Help You

 

We are huge fans of the power of technology to solve problems in our everyday work and private lives. And in the search for speedy customer response times and great customer service, technology can be a game-changer.

Companies wishing to bolster the efforts of their customer service teams should explore how they can use email analytics for customer service. Customer service email software can help you in several important ways, including:

 

1. Benchmarking email reply times

 

As we’ve noted before, once you can measure something it becomes far easier to manage. For teams seeking productivity gains in their customer service teams, a customer service email software solution can bring unprecedented transparency to a range of email-related metrics.

By benchmarking your individual, team and overall email reply times, you can set a standard to which all team members are held. Have any custom SLAs in terms of how quickly you need to respond to a specific client’s service requests? Tools such as timetoreply allow you to set custom SLAs and alert you when an email is approaching a custom threshold.

This keep your teams working seamlessly without the risk of important emails going unanswered for too long.

 

2. Granular insight into team performance

 

Want to build that customer-first culture that will allow you to win – and keep – the hearts of your customers? The first step is to get accurate data insights into your team’s current email performance.

Track metrics such as average response times, peak hours for incoming emails, individual and shared mailbox reply times, and average time to close a customer service request by successfully resolving the issue.

The more data you have at your fingertips, the easier it becomes to identify potential bottlenecks and resolve internal issues before they affect your customers.

 

3. Automate non-priority tasks

 

One of the biggest benefits of using technology is its ability to automate mundane and time-consuming tasks. Need up-to-the-minute reports on the total performance of your customer service teams? Who has the time to run around consolidating data from different inboxes?

Using specialised customer service email software can free up your teams to focus on the most important tasks: keeping customers happy by quickly resolving any requests or issues they may have.

With timetoreply, teams also gain access to detailed reports that reveal vital insights into the email productivity of your entire team, allowing you to make changes where necessary to uphold the very highest standards of customer service.

 

Introducing Timetoreply

 

You can unlock the power of customer service email analytics by using timetoreply, the only advanced customer service email software tool that works with any email platform.

With a quick activation and no need for lengthy deployments or costly integrations, timetoreply offers companies a quick way to gain granular insight into the total email performance of their sales and customer service teams.

Use our platform to gain powerful data on average email reply times, peak email traffic hours, average time to resolve customer service requests and more. Our data-driven insights enables teams to identify strengths and weaknesses, allowing decision-makers to change strategy and ensure every customer receives the highest levels of support and service.

Timetoreply offers world-class security and data protection, including ISO27001 and Google Security Certification. Our easy-to-use dashboard and extensive reporting capability also helps you keep the pulse of your teams and helps you build a culture of customer-centricity.

 

 

Want to get started? Try timetoreply for a free 15-day trial to see what the power of email analytics can do for your customer service teams.

 

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