21st October 2020

Customer Service - What's the right email response time?

Customer Service - What's the right email response time?

How long is too long for a customer to wait for a reply to their query? Does a faster response lead to a better customer experience?

In this blog, we're looking at how long customers expect to receive a reply; and how long businesses are actually taking to reply.


Measuring response times matters

Measuring the email response time is so important. A late reply – or no reply at all – leads to bad customer service. Bad customer service leads to a bad reputation.

Toister Solutions recently carried out a study of complaints on Twitter. The most common complaints were concerning bad customer service. 80% of the complaints they studied were escalations.

That means the customer had previous contact via a different channel (email, webchat, etc) and did not receive a reasonable response.

Email response times are important for businesses as they are one of the main factors that determine whether or not your customer comes back to you.


What's an acceptable response?

A 2020 survey by Toister Solutions showed that a response time of one hour “will meet the expectations of 80 percent of customers”. Companies aiming for world-class customer service should respond “within 15 minutes or less”.

Klaus’s ‘First Response Time in Customer Service’ study found 50 percent of respondents expect a reply within 24 hours.

In contrast, a separate study found that 62% of companies fail to even reply to customer service emails. For those that do, the average response time was 12 hours and 10 minutes.

As these figures suggest, there isn’t necessarily a ‘best practice’ in terms of response times. Some businesses may receive specialist queries which require some research or manual work, such as counting stock or speaking to colleagues in other departments.


How do you measure?

Measuring your response time is essential for your company to maintain a good reputation and ensure repeat customers.

Providing good customer service will satisfy your customers and make them more likely to come back to you, or refer your services.

Outlook Email Tracker lets you track all emails sent to, from and within your organisation. It shows you how many emails were sent, how many were replied to and their response times.


Do you get it right first time?

Do you exchange multiple emails with a customer before resolving their problem? A bad First Contact Resolution (FCR) has a detrimental effect on customer satisfaction.

Outlook Email Tracker will measure how many emails were sent in response to the original mail from the consumer. This ensures you can enable your staff to get it right first time.


Outlook Email Tracker. Analyse staff performance on Outlook emails



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PSP is an independent software development agency specialising in business applications that automate processes and streamline businesses. To find out more about how bespoke software can enhance your business, email: letstalk@psp-it.co.uk or phone: 01775 722377.

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