How customer service response times directly impact CSAT, retention, and revenue
November 12, 20214 min read
When a customer has a question or a complaint, they are not going to be shy about letting you know. Technology that is “always on” and capable of delivering experiences — and responses — almost instantaneously has set a new standard across channels for customers seeking to engage with businesses. Customer expectations have evolved, too. People will now judge your interactions not only on accuracy and helpfulness, but on how authentic and human your responses are.
A customer’s evaluation of your contact center experience begins even before they send you a message. They wonder how long it will take to get their issue resolved once they initiate a conversation, and worry they’ll have to repeat information about themselves and their situation to get the help they need. Customers today expect nearly instant, personalized attention that follows seamlessly wherever they go across dozens of digital channels. If you aren’t prioritizing strategies and technology solutions to improve your customer response times, you risk losing not only that individual customer’s repeat business, but also the business of any other customers who hear about that poor experience.
First response time (FRT) is a critical indicator of success
Traditionally, customer satisfaction (CSAT) has been regarded as the ultimate measure of efficient service. However, another critical indicator — one that’s increased in value due to the stresses and sense of urgency around COVID-19 — is first response time (FRT).
Faster response and case resolution is the new gold standard for both customers and businesses. When 66% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do when providing customer service, and 75% say they expect instant service within five minutes of online contact, each contact center engagement can be make or break for your future business with that customer.
But while providing a poor contact center experience can negatively impact customer retention — and ultimately, revenue — the opposite is also true. A positive contact center experience that provides ease, comfort, and assurance can promote enduring customer goodwill.
Customer loyalty hinges on the contact center customer experience
Customer loyalty hinges on the customer experience, and because of that, the contact center — which has an enormous impact on customer experience — is now the proving ground for brand differentiation. According to NewVoiceMedia, many customer service executives say their greatest obstacle is the burden and blowback of slow response times. And poor customer service costs businesses up to $75 billion annually in the United States alone.
Response time is the period between when the customer asks a question and when the business provides its first response, either via human agent or automation. Reducing response times and replying to customers with relevant, helpful information is vital to providing a good customer experience.
Customers expect flexibility to communicate with businesses on any channel they choose — and often across multiple channels at the same time. Given that 94% of customers will buy again when they have a simple, easy support experience, it’s imperative that modern contact centers be straightforward, flexible, and customizable.
From a contact center agent’s perspective, outdated systems or siloed solutions that hamper the delivery of swift and effective customer responses are equally frustrating. The next generation of contact center employees expect easy access to a 360º customer view, with integrated resources that empower them to engage and take action, not just take complaints. Your agents certainly don’t want to work with professional tools less capable than their personal smartphones.
This younger, more technologically savvy workforce, plus continual advances in AI and ever-increasing customer expectations, are combining to fundamentally reshape the future of enterprise contact centers. With chatbots and machine learning absorbing a greater volume of the less-complex customer needs, 24/7 service becomes possible — while at the same time freeing up more time for agents to focus where their skills and critical thinking are most needed.
Download the eBook 5 Ways to Improve Customer Response Times — And Your Bottom Line to discover how you can use AI to supercharge your organization’s customer service performance, and improve customer satisfaction.
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