7 Ways to Reduce Customer Response Times
For any business that wants to improve its customer service, learning how to reduce customer response time is paramount. 60 minutes is how much time 88% of customers are willing to wait for a response. Yet most businesses respond in 12-24 hours. Can you see the disconnect?
Besides, you lose revenue everytime your customers leaves to seek similar products or services elsewhere. This happens when they can’t get answers to their questions promptly.
To help you recover lost revenue and boost customer satisfaction. Here are 7 ways you can reduce your response time to customers.
But first, let us look at what customer response time means and how to calculate it…
What is “customer response time”?
This is the time taken to respond to a customer inquiry.
Before you dive into reducing your response times. It’s important to figure out how long are you taking to respond to customers in the first place.
There is a calculation for this:
7 ways to reduce customer response times.
Use a helpdesk software
Helpdesk software helps businesses keep track of customer conversations and requests from multiple channels, all in one place. Your support team can answer all your customer’s queries from this centralized place. Helpdesks are beneficial in this:
- They boost agent productivity. An agent has to investigate customer issues, look for information, and give a perfect solution to customers.
- Help desks store a knowledge base where your team can look up answers. It also collects all customer information and past interactions in one place. This also serves for reference purposes. Keeping customers from having to repeat themselves or feel like they are dealing with different people.
- Helpdesks boost team collaboration by distributing work equally. It also avoids team collision on a ticket. Thirdly, it also allows for private discussions on how to resolve issues.
- Helpdesks also provide important insights and analysis that would take incredible resources to compile.
- This software also offers self-service and reduces the number of tickets sent to your team. This leaves your team to focus on solving the difficult problems.
All this helps reduce the time that would have been wasted otherwise, working manually.
Support ticket or email categorization
Whether you have a helpdesk solution or use email. It’s important to create email/ticket categories. This way you can prioritize. You can categorize emails/tickets by issue e.g.
- Pre-order questions
- Technical issues
- Billing issues
- How to’s
Or you can categorize by product, department, or client. Or according to what works best for you.
Categorize emails/tickets through prioritizing. Which emails/tickets require urgent attention and why? Check on the type of ticket, the reason for the ticket, and categorize. Set a response time frame for all the tickets depending on how urgent each is.
You can put a tag on the most important tickets and label them urgent. Assigning one customer service rep to deal with a specific area of queries will help reduce customer response time.
Benefits of categorizing support/email tickets
Categorization helps you assign the right people to the right tickets and it also helps you create reports. You cannot gain insight from what you can’t measure.
Categorization lets you know what is challenging your customers most. From there you can come up with ways of addressing the issue, This will go a long way in reducing support tickets as well.
Create Response Templates with a human touch
Response templates are also called canned responses, macros, or saved replies for frequently asked questions. They provide the standard for responding to common issues that your customers have asked in the past. Quick repies are as important as having a calling script in a call center. They give guidance on how your brand answers customers. Response templates help to reduce response times because they can be applied with a simple click or copy and paste action.
Most helpdesk software allows for the creation of canned responses or macros. This helps to further reduce the amount of time spent in creating or exporting responses from other documents.
However, it’s important to leave room for personalization. Customers hate canned responses when they feel robotic and insincere.
Use Email Autoresponders when offline
Contacting a business and receiving a response boosts trust. But what happens when you are not available to answer? If you don’t have enough support tickets to warrant 24/7 customer support, you should invest in email autoresponders.
Just like you have an email autoresponder for email subscriptions, webinars, and abandoned carts, having email auto responders for support tickets is equally important. When done right, autoresponders will let your customers know you care, offer self-help options, and reduce response times.
When done wrong, autoresponders can leave your customer feeling like a number. Avoid such responses as “Your request is received and will be answered soon”.
Instead, greet your customer by name, thank them for their email or request and let them know that they are getting an auto-reply. Then let them know when you will get back to them and direct them to your self-help center for more general questions.
Here is a sample autoresponder email:
Cc: Groove HQ
Set up a knowledge base that helps your customers to resolve common issues without contacting you.
A knowledge base is a collection of answers for different issues that may arise with your product or service offering.
Self-service helps your customers find answers to their questions on their own. This is empowering and reduces the amount of time it takes to resolve their issue.
Empower your customer support team
“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”
Empowering your support team can be defined as giving them information, system, tools, authority, and freedom to go the extra mile to serve your customers.
That might sound scary to a business owner but if you set the right internal processes and guidelines, this can be achieved. Most times customer support reps are unable to close a ticket within the first contact because they have to rely on management to approve various aspects of customers’ requests.
This delays your response time. What you can do instead is train your support team adequately. Provide them with any information that would be necessary for doing their work. Keep them in the loop of what’s new, so that they are not surprised to receive information that they are unaware of in the middle of a shift.
You can also create teams and permissions within your organization. So that your support team can escalate issues to the relevant team for faster resolutions.
Measure your team’s performance and give feedback. Let senior support staff, train newer support staff. And don’t shy away from praising good work and encouraging performance. This will boost your support team’s performance.
Outsource to an experienced customer support team
Outsourcing to a professional and experienced customer support team will help reduce customer response times. Such a team has several years of experience and is highly specialized in customer service.
As the old adage goes,
“A jack of all trades is a master of none.”
Everyone has a role they play best. By allowing another team to support you with your customers, you can take a break from having to supervise everything. Allowing you to concentrate on doing what you do best. Some support centers offer 24/7 services. This means your customers get quality-fast responses no matter the time of day.
Customer response times affect your customer’s satisfaction and should be a priority in your service offering. So, how do you reduce customer response times? That’s what the seven points in this article aim to answer.
In brief, you ought to invest in a help desk software to bring everything into one place and cut the time used in navigating one support channel to another.
- Categorize emails according to the issue, product, or department and prioritize.
- Create response templates that can be as effective as cutting your response times by half.
- Set autoresponders when you are offline.
- Offer self-service
- Empower your support team by authorizing them to complete common requests by customers such as refunds, returns, and discounts but within guidelines of course.
- Outsource to a professional and experienced support team. These are the best people for advancing a brand’s customer-centric image. A good outsourced support team is customer-driven, professional, reliable, your brand ambassador, and affordable too.
With that, you are on your way to offering fast response times. But of importance is that speed should not be achieved at the cost of quality. Customers are more frustrated by ineffective responses than delayed responses. So, above all ensure you are listening, discerning, and solving the customer’s needs.