If a customer is contacting you for help, chances are, they’re already frustrated. Making customers wait for help compounds an already disappointing customer experience.
Improving customer service response time can reduce customer resentment and increase customer loyalty. 90% of consumers rate an immediate response as important or very important when they have a customer service question – so the best time to respond to these queries is ASAP.
Customer support teams who use automation and email templates to enhance their average first response time (FRT) spend a smaller amount of time on email responses and help exceed KPI’s. In these instances, quick response metrics show an overall increase in customer satisfaction with your brand. And, happier customers leads to improved retention rates, higher likelihood of referrals and more repeat business.
So, how can you go about improving your customer service experience? Here are just a few best practices to get you moving in the right direction.
Set customer expectations and stick to them.
A recent study shows 62% of companies ignore customer service emails completely. Consumers expect companies to respond to them in real time. If your average response time is “better late than never,” you’re already ahead of 62% of companies measured. However, we shouldn’t gauge our metrics by the bottom of the barrel – you want to be a leader in customer service experience.
If you set expectations for a response in 24 hours, and 48 hours go by, your customer is going to lose their patience and feel compelled to follow up. This can lead to a loss of trust in your brand and, even worse, a loss of a potential future sale. Why is this important? Well, 88% of customers believe trust is most important, especially in times of economic uncertainty. This is an easy fix – make it clear to your customers when they can expect a response from you – and don’t drop the ball.
Don’t force customers to chase you down.
Nothing is more annoying for a customer than “the service runaround.” According to HubSpot Research, "Two-thirds of customers report that the most frustrating aspect of getting customer service is waiting on hold or having to explain the same information to multiple representatives." To your customer, this is a sign that you don’t value their time, and it also wastes the time of your valuable support agents, which can negatively affect your entire business. Focusing the efforts of your customer service team on resolution time and getting it right the first time (RFT) will exceed your customer expectations and turn a disgruntled client into a loyal customer.
Avoid the social media rant!
The harsh reality? Customers are more likely to leave a review if they’ve had a poor experience. 53% of consumers want a fast response to negative reviews. Don’t let your service (or feedback) response time turn into a PR nightmare. Respond immediately to negative feedback on social media platforms or search engines, and include the steps you’re taking to remedy the situation. If a potential customer stumbles on the review, but can see that you responded with action items to make up for a misstep, they’re going to be more willing to spend their dollars with you.
Monitor your service response times.
As you can see, response time matters. A lot. As with anything you’re trying to improve (from fitness to workflows), your best bet is to measure, track, and adjust. Vicasso's Case Flags for Salesforce measures and improves customer service response times by helping your agents prioritize their cases. Case Flags is a 100% native Salesforce app that uses color coded flags as a visual indication of the elapsed time between case responses, automatically prioritizing agent workload to keep you in compliance with your client service level agreements (SLA's).