Improving Email Response Times Using Automatic Replies

by James C. in

Decades later, email is still one of our primary way of communicating between people and businesses. However, the expectation of speed from customers have changed over the course of two decades. Now we expect replies and responses more quickly, that's why email reply times matter.

When your organization is customer facing, don't allow something solvable as a poor email response time lead to lower customer satisfaction. A survey conducted by Microsoft and Klaus found that 50% of email senders expected an answer within 24 hours, and a recent HubSpot survey showed that 90% of customers expect an immediate response within 10 minutes or less. Our own study found that the average professional response time for email is 3h 50m 58s, taking into account weekends and holidays (excluding work hours). Average response times to emails are a useful metric for sales and customer service teams as they can influence customer satisfaction and lead to conversion rates.

One way you can decrease reply time is to rely on automatic responses.

Automatic replies are generic templates that do not give specific value to e-mail requests. However, they can be a valuable email management tool to assure your customers that you have received the request and are working on it. By linking your automated e-mail responses to FAQ pages and community forums to your automated answers, you can introduce self-service tools to your customers.

Automatic replies do not alter your response time in any way, but they can help you to paint a more realistic picture of what customers can expect when their questions are answered. 

This huge gap between expectations and reality cannot be overlooked and other research shows that faster response times, according to customers, are an important sign of good customer service. According to SuperOffice the average response time to Customer Service answers is 12 hours and 10 minutes. If the average response time for e-mail sales is too slow for a prospective customer, it means that the company does not respect its time, does not respond, or does not want its business.

Reducing email response times is an excellent opportunity for faster teams to engage with and lead their competition, making customers happier and reducing their absence. Jeff Toister, President of Toister Performance Solutions, said: "A day is too long to respond to an email. The good thing about e-mail response time is that companies have full control of what has a clear and quantifiable impact on their business.

Our CX Trends Report 2020 has found that rapid resolution of responses remains the most important issue for customers. In this article, we give concrete indications of how much time an initial reaction should take. Measurement of the first reply time The first response time is calculated by measuring the time between the time a customer presents a request and the time a customer service representative responds to the ticket.

Customer Service Response Time is the time elapsed between the time a customer makes a request and the time a support team provides an initial response. An answer to a question can be considered wonderful if it arrives in 30 minutes, but disappointed if it arrives three days later. The first email lasted 2 hours, the second 4 hours and the third 6 hours.   

According to Forrester research, 77% of customers say that the value of their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good customer service online. If you can exceed their expectations and get them to do so, it will have a positive impact on your customer service and your business as a whole. If customers "expectations are met, they are 80% more likely to continue using the business and 67% more likely to spend.         

Not only does this help to reduce response times to ordered emails in a way that makes it easier and faster to retrieve information and identify missing emails, but it also improves your agent's knowledge of the customer. Instead of scattering customer information and emails in a shared inbox, the support team has access to a complete and comprehensive picture of who the customer is and what their inquiries are about. Measuring interest in your product and answering questions about your processes and e-mail responses gives you the chance to offer your subscribers personalized insights and increase conversion rates.

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