If you ask any successful business owner, he’ll tell you that your customer service department can make or break your company. When it comes to having stellar customer service, there are only a small handful of skills that are as important as availability and response time. Forcing your customers to talk to a machine every time they need an issue resolved can alienate them from doing any business with you in the future. Untimely responses can also be a major put off and usually result in bad reviews and zero recommendations. 

The fact of the matter is that customers like to feel appreciated and acknowledged. So what’s the best way to let them know that you value them? Free stuff? Discounts? Sure, that helps, but in reality, being there for them when they need you is arguably the most important thing you can do for your customers, and it’s one of the hallmarks of great customer service!

Today we’ll talk about why having quick response times is super important for your business and how to shorten the average response time of your customer service department. But before we dive in, let’s talk about metrics. 

Why Tracking Your Average Customer Response Time Is Important?

Tracking average customer response time is the single most important metric required to have a better understanding of how your CS department is performing. Using these reports and comparing them is the key to reducing the time it takes to respond to customer queries. Shortening first response times will greatly improve customer experience and will more than likely result in repeat business. 

How to Calculate the Average Response Time?

How to Calculate the Average Response Time

Take the total time it took to respond to customer queries during a week, month, or quartile and divide it by the total number of responses. It’s as easy as that. Once you have the average time, you can look at how each customer service representative is performing individually compared to the rest of the team. 

Responding quickly results in happy customers, less clutter, less stress, and more time to write high-quality responses. This is why we cannot stress enough how important it is to have an efficient CS department helping your customers and growing your business in the process.

How to Reduce Customer Service Response Times

Here are some of the ways you can help each customer service representative achieve a quick response time:

Categorize Your Emails 

Implementing some kind of prioritization system for the emails you receive is one of the most efficient ways to speed up response times. 

Assign different levels of priority based on urgency, complexity, importance, and most importantly, the time needed to respond. Then proceed to tag the emails accordingly. This way your CS team will have a better idea which clients require their immediate attention and will handle all future incoming emails by order of priority. You can also consider specializing individual customer service reps in tackling specific topics. This kind of approach can significantly shorten your customer service email response times. 

Templates Can Be a Lifesaver

Your customer service department will regularly receive the same questions over and over again. Instead of writing the same reply from scratch, consider implementing email templates that can be slightly altered for each customer. Templates will significantly speed up your response time and will maintain a coherent “voice” when handling customer inquiries.

Have a FAQ Section

One of the ways to improve the average response time is to reduce the number of incoming emails. You can do this by determining what are the most frequently asked questions and providing answers to these questions on your website. Most customers will look for an answer to their inquiry in the FAQ section before trying to contact your customer representatives. 

Automate with Email Responders

While customers would always rather talk to a real person, there’s always a place for effective email autoresponders. For example, you can use autoresponders to let your customers know that you are aware of the issue they are experiencing and that you will resolve it in the shortest time possible. By doing so, your customers will be aware that it’s just a matter of time before they are taken care of. This method of using autoresponders shows courtesy, appreciation, and is one of the examples of great customer service

You can also use autoresponders to redirect your customers to your FAQ section in case they missed it or other channels of communication such as social media.

Automate with Email Responders

Invest in Customer Service Software

As the number of customers you do business with grows, so will the amount of incoming queries and requests. In order to efficiently handle all those incoming emails, you should consider investing in and implementing comprehensive customer service software. 

This type of software lets you access and prioritize emails in a matter of seconds and also allows you to view all previous interactions with your customers. This information makes resolving an issue that much easier. While smaller companies can get away without using such software, medium to large companies should definitely consider getting it. 

If Everything Else Fails, Get Some Help

Overworking your customer service department will only result in longer response times and, even worse, a significant drop in quality. Consider taking some of the load off of your CS team and outsourcing it to a reputable company with years of experience in the industry. 

Your main takeaway from this article should be that quality should never suffer in favor of speed. While established why quick response times are important, giving out concise and helpful answers should still be a priority. Instead, you should focus on implementing the right tools that will help your customer service representatives do a better job while maintaining the same amount of dedication and enthusiasm. If you’re looking for ways to improve your customer service team, Answer Hero is the easiest, fastest, and most efficient solution. We can provide you with bilingual customer service all-stars that will take care of your customer’s needs and improve their experience. We can improve your brand image and help you take your business to the next level.