6 tips to respond to customer service messages within one hour

Mathilde Collin, CEO & Co-founder at Front
19 October 20203 Min Read

Treating customers badly hurts your business not once, but twice. First, you anger your customer, and then, you drive them into the waiting, willing arms of your biggest rivals. Almost 90 percent of consumers will start doing business with a competitor after a poor customer support experience, according to an Oracle report.

Bad customer service could happen easier than you think. When it comes to customer support, your users expect you to be fast on both email and social media.

A Twitter study found that over 70 percent of Twitter users expect brands to reply to their questions on the app within one hour. A similar study about email found the same thing. In an era of smartphones and always-on communication, people see no reason for a delay in company’s responses to them.

1. Measure headcount and incoming messages

Make sure you have the right number of people on your team dedicated to customer support. Look at the data about how many customer service messages you receive and what time of day they come in. How long, on average, does it take your team to respond to a message once they open it? Run the math and figure out how many support members you need to be able to respond to your average number of incoming messages per hour.

2. Set response time expectations with your customers

If you don’t have the resources to respond to most of your customer service messages in an hour, then set the expectations clearly with your users. Next to your email on your website, tell them what time frame they will hear from you.

3. Cover ground in other regions by outsourcing

Outsource part of your customer support team to another region, so that when you’re sleeping, someone else can reply. There are a lot of companies that will create small to large outsourced teams depending on your need. Check out Influx or TaskUs.

4. Use message assignments & give your team context

Take advantage of the many tools out there that will help you respond faster. We recommend a tool for assigning emails to different members of your team, and an integration that lets you see the context on a customer’s order history without having to log into a different service. (Front can do both of these!)

5. Choose technology that's integrated & fast

Pick an email and social media management product that’s fast enough. You want one with keyboard shortcuts and fast page load. If your customer service team is using it 8 hours a day, those minor inconveniences add up. We, of course favor Front, but you can also find other helpdesk solutions.

6.Choose speed over frills

Consider speed over perfection. It might be a nice touch to add emojis or personalization, but if you have to choose between that and a rapid response, go with the latter.

Ultimately, you want to be able to respond to your customers right when they need it. To do this, you need to have the right products and processes in place and avoid providing bad experiences.

Webinar: How to talk to your customers in 7 easy steps

Written by Mathilde Collin
Originally Published: 6 December 2016

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