What is the Average Reply Time?

The Average Reply Time is the average length of time within a period that it takes for a customer service agent to respond to a customer’s inquiry. The relevant time length can consist of seconds, minutes, hours, or even days.

Important! Average Reply differs from First Reply Time (FRT) in that it measures the entire elapsed time between customer first contact and agent response, not just the first time the agent responds.

While a relatively straightforward metric, Average Reply Time is nonetheless an extremely important KPI for optimizing your customer satisfaction.

First Response Time is a relevant KPI for your customer support team to monitor.

Why is the Average Reply Time important?

Average Response Time is important because it’s a direct reflection of the quality and effectiveness of your company’s customer support. A prompt response time is directly correlated with customer happiness, and can serve as the "Wow!" factor in attracting and retaining customers.

Average Response Time is also important because if it’s too high, it can point to deficiencies in your customer support. Knowing the acceptable benchmark for your Average Response Time and being able to consistently apply it is not only a winning formula for your customer satisfaction, but also a guarantee that you’re able to provide your support team help and resources if needed.

Despite their close similarity, Average and First Response Times have somewhat different functions. FRT tends to be the more popular KPI, as it’s closely correlated with CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). This is because a customer’s opinions are often determined on the basis of the first-time response.

How to calculate Average Reply Time

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How to decrease Average Reply Time

The best way to decrease your Average Reply Time is to ensure you have enough customer support agents to match your company’s needs, and that your agents are properly trained. A too-high Average Reply Time likely indicates that either or both of these criteria are not being met. If this is the case, you’ll need to invest more training and/or resources into your support team to raise the level of service.

Consider investing in an AI chatbot, as this automated service can give customers immediate information without the need to direct their queries to a human agent, thus saving your support team time and energy for more complex cases.

Bear in mind that Average Reply Time will probably be subject to seasonal fluctuations, so be sure to allocate resources and staff accordingly. Your Average Reply Times during the busy seasons will likely be longer than normal.

Finally, as with other support-related KPIs, it’s important to strike a balance between speed and efficiency of customer service, and the quality of such service. While Average Reply Time is certainly important for evaluating the level of your customer support, it’s not everything!

Other KPIs similar to Average Reply Time include:

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