customer service response time for service industry

Are long response times damaging your customer service reputation? Customers expect prompt solutions to their inquiries and problems, and waiting for a long time can be frustrating.

In this article, we will provide effective ways for businesses to reduce customer service response times, whether the customer contacts through phone, email, or social media.

By reducing the First Response Time (FRT), which is the average time it takes for a customer support team to respond to a customer’s inquiry or complaint after receiving it, businesses can improve customer satisfaction.

To calculate the average email response time, keep reading.

How to Calculate the Average Email Response Time

To determine the average email response time, measure the total time taken to respond to emails during a specific period.

  • The total amount of time required to respond to emails during a given time period.
  • The sum of all responses sent during the specified time period.

Some systems consider “first response time” as a separate metric, which only measures the time between the first customer message and the first response.

It’s crucial to measure email response time as it’s a key indicator of customer service quality. A quick response can make a positive impression, while a delayed response may disappoint customers.

Studies have shown a correlation between response times and customer satisfaction, with 77% of customers valuing their time when it comes to online customer service.

Email response times can be controlled, and they have a direct and immediate impact on customer experience.

To determine the appropriate response time benchmark, consider factors like the urgency of the issue, your guarantees on response time, your internal response time objectives, and customer expectations set by your competitors.

While there is a wide range of customer expectations, following these guidelines can help you exceed customer expectations and enhance their experience.

What Makes Measuring Email Response Time Important?

The timely response to customer inquiries is crucial in measuring the quality of customer service interactions. Swift responses, within 30 minutes, are regarded as excellent while delays of up to three days are seen as disappointing.

However, the best average response time for customer service depends on several factors, such as the industry, the type of inquiry, and the customer’s expectations.

Nevertheless, research has shown that customers generally expect a response within a few hours for non-urgent inquiries and within an hour for urgent inquiries.

Customer satisfaction research consistently demonstrates a correlation between response times and customer satisfaction. Respecting customers’ time is of utmost importance in providing excellent online customer service.

Responding promptly to customers’ emails can positively reflect on your customer service and overall company reputation. Conversely, slow responses can create a negative experience for customers.

Therefore, measuring email response times is vital as it is a controllable factor that directly impacts the customer experience.

Email Response Time Benchmarks

If you’re wondering how fast your email response time should be, it depends on various factors, including:

  • The urgency of the issue for the particular customer
  • The guarantees you’ve made regarding response time, such as formal SLAs or support page copy
  • Your own internal response time objectives
  • Previous expectations you’ve set for this customer
  • The expectations that the customer brings to you as a result of their interactions with your competition
  • The channel on which the enquiry was received, if you’re comparing response times across multiple channels.

While customers may not behave identically, examining available data on customer response time expectations can provide helpful guidelines.

How to Shorten Customer Service Response Times

The primary objective of customer service should be to resolve the customer’s issues in one message, although some inquiries may require multiple interactions. Here are some recommendations to improve customer service response time:

  1. Implement Customer Service Software: Consider using customer service software to manage customer service emails, which can automate processes, track information, measure performance metrics, and facilitate team collaboration.
  2. Utilize Time-Sensitive Email Alerts: Set up time-based email alerts to avoid overlooked correspondence or longer response times.
  3. Establish a Primary Automated Response: An automated response can manage customer expectations and act as a placeholder for a reply.
  4. Set a Quality Benchmark: Pair speed objectives with a quality standard and evaluate the service interaction as a whole.
  5. Optimize Customer Service Operations: Streamline customer service processes, automate manual tasks, and integrate available tools with your customer service software to increase efficiency and productivity.


In conclusion, reducing customer service response time is crucial for providing excellent customer service.

By implementing these tips, you can ensure that your customers receive prompt and effective assistance, which can lead to happy and loyal customers, repeat purchases, and business referrals, ultimately having a positive impact on your business.

If you want to enhance your customer support, you may want to take into account using Freshdesk Helpdesk Software. With its user-friendly and cooperative characteristics, it can help you decrease response times and personalize interactions.

Related articles:

Customer Engagement Software & Strategies: Beginner’s Guides

Effective Customer Communication Tools for Businesses

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