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How to Improve Your Response Time for Better Customer Service

Originally published: June 13, 2022 08:59:53 AM, updated: November 19, 2022 12:00:00 AM

How to Improve Your Response Time for Better Customer Service

Even though we know that customer demand and competition dictate how an industry will grow, we are still surprised at how fast things change. Not long ago, it was pretty acceptable for a company to have a response time of 12 hours or more. Customers agreed that this was normal and expected. But, nowadays, it is practically unimaginable for a company to have a slow response time. Customers are less patient than ever, and they are more than ready to take their business elsewhere if they think you are ignoring their complaints. So, let's look at how to improve your response time and ensure reputable customer service.

Ways to improve your response time

First, let's define what response time is. To put it simply, it is the time between when the customer places a complaint and when your customer service addresses it. So, to decrease the time, you merely need to add more people to your customer service, right? Well, not quite. While this is an option, it is by far the most expensive one. The important thing to realize here is that it is not imperative to respond to your customers right away, but it is essential to make them feel appreciated. Luckily, there are ways to tackle this cost-effectively.

Nevertheless, it is paramount that you have properly functioning customer service. This is why we will also cover the necessary technologies and methods you need to implement.

Making Phone Call

Set up an automatic response

Once your customer sends you a complaint or a question, they should get an automatic response email. This is a generic email notifying them that you've received their notification and that your customer service will address it as soon as possible. Most of them also add a FAQ page and a forum section where your customers may find the answers they seek. Do not mistake these emails as actual responses, as they only serve to help your customers feel at ease. If you want to retain your customers, you will have to respond to them and do so soon.


Expand canned responses

It doesn't take much customer service experience to learn that most customers have quite similar, if not the same, questions. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on generic emails here, as they are not suitable for every industry. However, you can easily cut your response time by addressing these questions and giving your employees the best answers. These are called canned responses. Canned responses are a great way to both reduce the response time and help new workers be of service. The main issue is making them as clear and compelling as possible.

Customer Service Agent

Implement proper categorization

Another vital method to use is proper categorization. If you are new to customer service, you may think that every customer has the same urgency with complaints. But, as it turns out, the reality is far from so. Some customers have minor issues that will take a minute to solve, while others may have complicated problems that can take well over an hour. Therefore, if you want to use your resources efficiently, you need to implement categorization. Our advice is to separate the complaints by:

  • Complexity.
  • Urgency.
  • Minimum time required to resolve.

These three things should give you a clear idea of how important an issue is and how soon you need to address it. In this regard, CRM solutions can be your best ally, as such software can help you set up your customer service with a proper structure. Furthermore, remember to listen to your employees as they have hands-on experience, which can be quite useful.

Have an experienced customer service manager

A good customer service manager will do you a world of good on multiple fronts. Not only will you have a better response time, but your customers will experience an overall better rapport with your employees. This leads to good reviews and further recommendations. So, don't shy away from having a top-notch customer service manager. Know that this is a stressful position that requires people skills as well as organizational skills, especially if you want to implement a good training program for new employees. Our advice is to employ someone with a good track record and monitor their performance.

Customer Service Manager

Empower your customers

It is a common misconception that customers want to "talk to the manager" the moment something goes wrong. Sure, certain customers out there are quite demanding, but most simply want their problems identified and solved with minimal interaction with others. So, you need to help them identify their issue and, ideally, give them a solution. Various social media platforms, FAQ pages, AI bots, forums... All of these are great ways to empower your customers and help them solve their own problems. Keep in mind, though, that doing so is easier said than done. You need to have a terrific, intuitive website and ensure that your guidance is suitable for someone completely unfamiliar with your industry. Setting this up takes time and effort, but once you create a decent program, both you and your customers will be more than happy.


The final piece of advice

Implementing all of these techniques to improve your response time can seem a bit overwhelming at first, so don't try to implement them all. Instead, try to focus on your customers and see what suits them best. If you predominantly deal with older customers, don't rely much on their computer skills. On the other hand, if you work mostly with younger generations, try to automate your customer service as much as possible. As you will learn, there is no one-for-all solution when it comes to customer service. Instead, you need to learn and adapt to what your current audience wants and expects.

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