7 Ways to Improve Customer Responsiveness
It’s no secret that the significance of an effective customer service strategy lies not only in delighting existing customers but in drawing in new business as well. Customers have become increasingly impatient and expect companies to respond to them faster. They are also likely to switch to other businesses or companies if your response time is too high.
There are many factors that might impact your average response time, including:
- the number of steps that agents have to take to find customer history and previous interactions
- the difficulty in communicating and collaborating with other teams
- absolute ticket volumes, as well as ticket volume to agent ratio
- the frequency of complex issues that routinely take longer to solve
To help you tackle these challenges in an efficient manner, we’ve put together this article where we deep dive into the average response times across channels, and also look at effective ways to improve customer responsiveness.
What is responsiveness in customer service?
Simply put, customer responsiveness indicates how fast and efficiently a company responds to customers. From a customer support standpoint, it is the time taken by the support agents to respond to your customers. It’s important to note that customer responsiveness covers first response time, and also the frequency and consistency in communication until the final resolution. Customers would be delighted if they get connected to an agent immediately but it would all fade off if they don’t receive a speedy solution to their queries.
Striking a balance between speed and quality is the biggest challenge faced by customer support agents. However, by clearly communicating the expected wait and query resolution time beforehand, you can help set the right expectations with customers. This will also enable customers to gain trust in your brand, and help you build customer loyalty. But the real question here is – how can you deliver timely and consistent customer support when you handle different communication channels?
The answer to this question lies in understanding the expected response times for each channel as well as knowing how to deliver better customer experience.
How crucial is the customer response time for each channel?
The average response time or average wait time differs for each support channel. Here is a breakdown of the average response time for each customer service channel.
According to SuperOffice, the average wait time for an email is 12 hours and 10 minutes. Here is a representation of the percentage of different age groups expecting an email reply within 1 hour.
Phone and Live chat
People reach out to phone and live chat support to receive a fast and immediate response. Thus the average response time for the former is 3 seconds and the latter is under 1 minute.
The average response time for social media differs across different platforms. Here is a graphical representation of the average response time of popular social media channels namely Facebook and Twitter.
Pro Tip: Though there is a specified average wait time for each of these channels, we recommend you to respond as fast as possible to your customer queries.
How to improve customer responsiveness and create a better customer experience
#1. Understand your customers
Identifying the channels your customers are more comfortable with is the first step in improving your customer responsiveness. Surveys and customer feedback forms can help you understand what customers expect in terms of wait times, and whether they were happy with the experience they had. This in turn can be fed back into your support strategy, and you can use the insights to make decisions such as hire more people, assign more resources on channels that customers expect faster service like chat. Knowing your customer better and engaging with them will help you outperform your competitors.
#2. Leverage the power of technology
There are multiple ways that technology can help optimize and automate repetitive tasks in customer service, and thereby significantly improve your team’s responsiveness.
- Make use of a helpdesk software to streamline your support process. A good helpdesk software will help you prioritize the issues that need attention and bring all channels of communication onto one dashboard so agents don’t have to toggle between many tools. It offers historical context and 360 view of every customer by tracking customer journey across each channel and collaboration with other teams without losing context.
- Power your helpdesk or support software with automation to respond quickly to your customers. Automation will be hugely helpful to improve your customer responsiveness. Freshdesk Omni Route automatically assigns messages, chats, tickets, and phone calls to the right agent based on their agent loads. It also scans the customer inquiries and assigns it to the right team depending on the issue type and the channel they contacted you with. Furthermore, it will also update the progress of the issue to the customers.
- Deploying AI-driven chatbots to your support software is a boon to your business. They can handle customers and bring down your average first response time. With Freddy, the agents don’t have to spend time sorting the incoming tickets or answering the common queries that arise every day. It categorizes, prioritizes the incoming queries and also solves repetitive support processes with just a single click. The agents can bid adieu to these mundane tasks and focus on complex customer needs.
#3. Provide consistent support experience
When providing support via different channels, the challenge lies in keeping it consistent without losing customer context across channels. An omnichannel support solution not only lets you manage multiple customer service channels from a single-window but will also help you provide a seamless and consistent support experience. The customers can reach out to you via any channels and receive a contextual response without having to worry about which channel is the best to reach out to you.
#4. Provide resources for self-support
Implementing self-service options like a customer portal or a knowledge base is a perfect resource for the customers to solve their issues on their own, without having to wait to connect to an agent for every simple or common issue that arises. This will decrease the number of incoming queries to the customer support teams, and therefore reduce agent load and improve response times. This will free up agent time to address customers with bigger issues at hand.
#5. Train your employees
A skilled workforce can perform better and build good customer relationships. Training your customer support staff on the importance of customer satisfaction and informing them about the expected response times for each channel will help them provide better support. Make sure your agents are aware of the common types of customer service questions or issues raised on your brand or business and are well-equipped to answer them. Also, ensure that your agents have access to your knowledge base so that all your employees can deliver a consistent support experience. This can be made easier with Freddy Answers, which automatically responds to the customers with the best answers from your knowledge base. It goes above and beyond by identifying intent and follows up the answer to bring conversational flow and engages with your customers.
#6. Make use of canned responses and incorporate personalization
Canned responses or templates help you respond quickly to common customer issues with just a click. This saves you the time and effort of having to write the same messages or answers over and over again for different customers. With Freddy AI article and canned response suggestor, you can immediately send out a response without having to search through your list of canned responses or templates.
#7. Set performance goals and monitor individual customer response time
Performance goals are essential for monitoring your customer support. Tracking metrics such as average response time, number of agent responses per ticket, and total time spent on a ticket will help you know where you stand and provide a better customer support experience. Set different benchmarks for each channel. As mentioned earlier, the average response time varies from channel to channel. So you will need to monitor the responsiveness of your support and query volumes separately for each channel. These goals motivate your agents to reach their goals and in turn, helps your business deliver a faster customer response.
While rushing to offer faster responses to customers, try to stay as human as possible. What separates human agents from bots is the ability to understand and connect with your customers. Ensure that you listen to your customers and provide the right solution. Customer responsiveness is not only about fast responses but also the right responses and solutions. Improving your customer responsiveness indicates that you are on the fast and right track to win customers for life.