Every day, customers are exposed to thousands of brands vying for their attention, with exceptional customer service as the only competitive differentiator. It’s a necessity to give customers the experience they want, and quickly. Take a look at eight proven ways to improve your customer service response time.
For example, a good response time for live chat is 45 seconds, while, for email, it is 2-4 hours. But how do you measure customer service response time?
1. Set up an automatic reply
to inform customers that they will receive an email response soon Email autoresponse
is the confirmation email you receive after submitting an email inquiry. Autoresponders are generic email templates that do not add any specific value to the query received. Nor are they counted as first responders. An autoresponder is a valuable email management feature that assures your customer that you have received the inquiry and are currently working on it.
Plus, by linking your email autoresponders to a knowledge base and FAQ pages, you can introduce customers to your self-service tools. This can even help them solve the problem on their own and be left alone if the problem needs expert attention. You can also add your typical response time in your autoresponders to paint a realistic picture of when customers can expect their issues to be addressed.
2. Expand predefined responses to fit a wide range of common tickets
Canned responses are preformatted answers to common questions. Use your event logs and support data to customize predefined responses for a wide range of common tickets. The default templates you find in your email often can’t be used because they don’t suit your business. By investing time in writing the perfect canned response templates, you can add value to customers and also improve their resolution time by reducing the steps needed to resolve an issue.
For example, let’s say you get a lot of logistics tickets where the first mandatory step is to collect the customer’s order number. You can set up a predefined response to collect this detail, making the ticket ready to be resolved when a customer service representative intervenes.
3. Rank tickets based on priority
Attending tickets as they arrive is not an ideal way to solve problems. Every ticket is important. But not all tickets are urgent. Treating each ticket as urgent and top priority has no advantage. Categorize your tickets based on minimum time to resolution, complexity of the issue, time sensitivity, and level of impact.
Prioritizing tickets will give your support team members the option to handle tickets based on topic similarity or difficulty level. This makes it easier to resolve tickets and improves productivity, probably because they just encountered a similar problem. After categorizing, you can automatically assign tickets in different ways, such as a round-robin algorithm or a balanced load distribution based on agent availability.
4. Leverage omnichannel strategy to distribute support volume
One of the best ways to manage a flooded inbox is by providing omnichannel support. An omnichannel help desk software will help you provide multiple channels for customers to interact with, thus decentralizing tickets and preventing individual channels from being bombarded with tickets. Each ticket is unique; One requires a customer service expert to solve, while another might use a simple knowledge base article. Identifying which problem is which and directing them to the right channel will save the time and effort invested in each problem. The huge advantage of omnichannel support is to give customers the opportunity to choose the channel they see fit. Would you rather not call an agent? They can use the chatbot. Fast assistance? They can continue with the live chat.
In 2020, 75% of customers said the most important attribute of customer service is a fast response time
The key is to make customers aware of these offers. Mediocre search features and lost add-on options will prevent customers from benefiting from your omnichannel efforts. Maximize your omnichannel support benefits by interconnecting customer service interaction channels and making it easier to navigate between channels. For example, you can link to your social media channels in your email signature. You can link to your knowledge base articles in your email responses.
5. Automate recurring support actions to save
You can’t reduce customer response time without automation. The automation of customer service processes, the recurring ones, will have a great impact on your response time. Resolving a ticket has many manual touchpoints, such as modifying ticket status, assigning priorities, notifying customers, initiating follow-ups, and many more. You can automate these actions and save time incrementally for each ticket that comes in. Automating your help desk tickets will also help you reduce the overall costs incurred per ticket by eliminating the need for manual actions.
6. Reduce the volume of incoming tickets with
the self-service knowledge base
A recent survey showed that more than 90% of customers prefer a knowledge base to phone calls if it’s resourceful. This shows that customers don’t always need or want to talk to the customer service team every time they have a service request. They are content to be guided to the right answers. When you link a knowledge base to your help desk, your customers will automatically find relevant KB articles populated in the drop-down list as they type their problem. This reduces the volume of incoming tickets and leads to better time management, as slow response times are mainly due to ticket backlog.
The shorter the time and wait, the happier your customers will be. Offer a robust self-service tool like the HappyFox Knowledge Base that’s social media ready, multilingual, easy to search, and mobile-friendly.
7. Use chatbots to provide 24×7 support
To provide an immediate response, you need to be constantly on the lookout for any queries. That’s neither possible nor realistic for a time-bound support team. Luckily, there are alternatives. You can use a chatbot as a first line of support for any ticket you receive during evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Support agents should hate Mondays and opening day after the holidays because that’s when tickets are queued the most. Most of these tickets may not even need human expertise. Using a chatbot to provide real-time support around the clock, even outside of business hours, is the best way to provide quick resolutions to these tickets and meet customer expectations.
8. Set realistic goals and track
response time effectively
Customer experience surveys reveal time and time again the direct correlation between fast response times and excellent customer service. According to a survey by SuperOffice and Toister, it takes an average company 12 hours and 10 minutes to respond to a new email. The same survey revealed that 31.2% of customers expect a response in an hour or less. The difference is pronounced. You will differentiate yourself from your competitors by simply responding faster than that.
But it’s easy to lose track of your response times if you don’t describe and measure the KPIs that matter, such as average first response time, average handling time, and ticket resolution time. The assessments you take before describing these KPI metrics will give you insight into the suitability of your staff, the industry benchmark, and where you can improve. Set goals you can achieve and reveal them to your customers so they know what to expect. With reporting software like HappyFox Business Intelligence, you can transform data from different customer service channels into actionable customer insights. With constant follow-up, you can understand the capabilities of your customer service department and incorporate the learnings into your future goals.
impact of faster response times on the customer service experience cannot be overstated. In the end, you’ll see higher customer satisfaction, lower scaling, reduced churn, and better conversion rates. But remember that customers won’t trade quality responses for faster responses. A quick but weak response that only leads to a lot of back and forth is useless. Find the sweet spot and gradually improve your customer service response time. Sign up for a HappyFox Help Desk demo to learn how you can improve your overall customer service competency.