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11 Proven Ways to Improve Customer Response Time

Is there anything more frustrating than waiting on hold? Delayed customer service is a headache for both customers and service representatives alike. The longer it takes for a customer to receive service, the more likely they are to have a poor experience. Seventy-one percent of consumers (age 16–24) believe that a quick customer response time from a service team can drastically improve their customer experience. 

With a world of information and entertainment at their fingertips, modern customers aren’t willing to wait for service. Successful customer service teams work toward improving their customer response time because they understand how important this customer service metric is. If your business wants to build a loyal customer base and foster brand loyalty, improving customer response time must be a priority.

If your business struggles with a slow average FRT (first reply time), try these 11 proven ways to improve. 

1. Set Response-Time Expectations

Establishing expectations is an important part of the customer service process. For a customer, waiting a few days for a resolution might be inconvenient, but waiting without any timeframe can turn an inconvenience into anger.

Clearly communicate to customers the expected response speed for different channels (e.g., email, phone, social media). Managing customer expectations can help reduce frustration and lead to higher customer satisfaction.

2. Use Automated Email Responses

When customers send an email to support, they aren’t sure what to expect in response. If you aren’t able to respond quickly to customer emails, use automated email responders to set expectations for a thorough response. Factor in the time you’ll need to completely address the customer’s concern and inform them of the timeframe in which you’ll respond. 

Automated email responses might include the following:

  • “Thank you for contacting [company]. We’ve received your message and will reach out in the next 24 hours with a response. Thank you for choosing [company].”
  • “Your message has been sent to one of our customer support experts. They’ll review your account and get back to you within the next two business days with a resolution. Thank you.”
  • “Your message has been received. Please give us one to two business days to look into your concern and provide an appropriate response.” 

3. Use a Ticketing System

With dozens or even hundreds of customer service requests coming through on a weekly basis, it can be easy to allow some requests to slip through the cracks. Using a ticketing system can prevent such mistakes. Ticketing helps alert agents when a customer concern hasn’t been addressed yet and can help prioritize customers that need more immediate attention. 

If a ticket system sounds like it could increase your customer support time, consider trying out LiveHelpNow’s help desk ticket system. It will automatically route and assign every ticket to the right person in the right department. Manage requests from any communication channel in one place. Meanwhile, the help desk ticket system maintains a detailed contact history throughout the entire resolution process and integrates perfectly with the help desk software.

4. Offer Self-service Options

Customer service representatives are the best option for some issues. For most other concerns, a self-service option could be effective. A self-service portal, FAQ page, help center, community discussion board, comprehensive knowledge base, and other resources are becoming more popular customer service options. Using any of these options frees up telephone and email support teams to handle more serious inquiries or inquiries from those who choose not to use self-service options.

Creating self-service options for your customers may require an upfront investment of time and resources, but the savings can be significant in the long run.

5. Offer Multiple Communication Channels

If every customer service request comes in as a phone call, for example, the support team may get backed up. Offering various communication channels allows you to distribute support volume to different teams and make sure customers’ queries receive quality responses. 

If telephone or email is your main communication channel with your customers, consider adding an AI-powered or live chatbot to reduce the load on your service team and appeal to customers who aren’t as likely to engage with traditional channels of customer service. Social media platforms are another option you could offer your customers seeking support.

6. Streamline Internal Processes

No customer support system is perfect. Streamlining your internal processes will allow you to remove any part of the process that is slowing down your customer response time. Once you have an internal process that really seems to be working, stick to it. But don’t be afraid to make changes if circumstances require it. 

7. Train Customer Support Agents

Customer support agents are one of the most important factors that contribute to customer response time. Provide thorough employee training to your support team to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to respond promptly and effectively. Empower them to make decisions and resolve issues without unnecessary escalation.

Initial training is important, but don’t forget to offer regular training sessions for the entire customer service department. Make sure agents don’t forget to focus on customer response time.

8. Monitor and Analyze Response Times

If your business has an issue with providing customers with a timely response, chances are you’ll hear about it in the form of complaints or customer reviews. To combat this, regularly track and analyze response times to identify areas for improvement. Use customer feedback and metrics to identify patterns and make informed decisions on how to enhance response times.

There may be times of the day, week, or year that require more or less customer support to provide adequate customer response time. Monitoring and analyzing response times over time will reveal these patterns to you. Once you’ve discovered them, you can act.

9. Implement Chatbots or Virtual Assistants

Providing immediate answers to a customer doesn’t always have to be done by a human. Many customer inquiries only require answers to common questions. Others might be tasks that can be handled by a self-service portal. 

Use AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants to handle simple and common customer inquiries. This can free up human agents to focus on more complex issues, reducing response times overall. If you don’t want to move away from the human element of customer service, chatbots are still a great option. One live agent can handle multiple live chat queries at once.

If you’re looking for a chatbot, LiveHelpNow offers a chatbot that can help with initial contact, provide your customers with 24/7 support, capture lead information, schedule appointments, and more. Try the demo for free!

10. Offer 24/7 Customer Support

Most companies opt not to provide 24/7 customer support. It may not be worth it due to cost or low customer volume outside of regular business hours. If it makes sense for your business, providing round-the-clock customer support to customers in different time zones will allow you to address urgent issues immediately.

Chatbots and online customer service portals are great options for those who want to offer 24/7 support without the cost of a live support agent. 

11. Continuously Optimize and Improve

Once you’ve established an internal process and provided adequate training to your support team, regularly review and refine your customer support processes to identify areas where response times can be further reduced.

Stay updated with new technologies and industry best practices to continuously improve your customer response time. Customer preferences can change over time, and new customer service channels can pop up. Make sure your business changes along with customer expectations.

Part of providing an exceptional customer experience is addressing the customer’s issues as quickly as possible. Customer response time is one of the most important customer service KPIs. If you’re struggling with your average customer response time, try implementing these 11 proven ways to improve customer response time.

About The Author

Brandon Stillwell

Brandon Stillwell is an accomplished writer, editor, and SEO expert with a knack for content marketing. He holds an MFA ...

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