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12 Ways Your Business Can Improve Customer Response Time

Customer service response times are an essential element of a successful business. If you do not return customer calls or emails quickly, you risk losing brand reputation among a range of other problems that affect your company. 

But, a successful small business may not have the financial might or even the technology to ensure quick response times. Furthermore, customer service agents are only human, and there’s always the chance they could miss an email or call. Still, responding to as many queries and complaints as possible is essential, so consider these 12 ways your business can improve its customer response time. 

Implement Better Processes 

Companies should always look for ways to improve their processes, especially when serving customers. While many businesses operate from offices and serve customers online or over the phone, other companies, such as HVAC contractors, require face-to-face interaction to provide a quality service. 

For better responses, you can use services like Buildops field service management that make it easier to remain organized with better scheduling, dispatch, invoicing, and time tracking. Here, you can ensure you do not overcharge customers and attend to their needs as quickly and efficiently as possible, which boosts customer satisfaction and could allow you to easily serve more customers in a single day. 

Use Outsourced Customer Service Firms

If your business is growing but you do not have the budget to hire more employees or even need to double your customer service availability while out of office hours, outsourced customer service firms are a great solution. 

These companies can work exclusively with your business but only when you need them. This saves money in investing in full-time employees or even creating a new department. It also means you do not overwork your employees and can give them the weekend off rather than waiting in the office in case someone calls.

Working with outsourcing companies is an exceptional opportunity to save money which you can redirect into the business to make more essential improvements. 

Use AI Chat Bots 

Another option is to use AI chatbots. However, while these can be an option for small businesses, you must still exercise caution. Many customers do not want to talk to an AI bot. They want to speak to a human on the other end. They want to know they are speaking to a human, too. 

Still, you can use AI as an effective stopgap before one of your dedicated customer service agents speaks to a customer. Although AI may not solve their problems or sufficiently answer their queries, you can use it to segment their requests and direct them to an appropriate customer service department to avoid diverting calls across your company. 

Set Up Metrics and Data 

Small businesses can also use metrics and data to discover why your response times are not fast enough. Setting up analytics measures will enable you to dig deeper into your customer service approach to uncover what is happening and why so many customers wait on hold for so long. 

You can then use this data to make effective changes to your customer service approach. However, this can be tricky. You want your agents to do everything possible for customers, yet you also want them to serve them quickly so others do not wait. Identifying a fine balance will solve this.

Identify Common Complaints 

Your business can also look at common customer complaints and change your approach. Customers might not need to wait too long. Still, they may be unsatisfied with other aspects of your customer service approach and response times. 

These complaints should give you a strong idea of where things are going wrong or not working as they should, and this will help you zero in on the specifics that can cause such problems. It could be that one of your agents is not confident enough to deal with more demanding requests or that you have not outlined your policies enough. Of course, you will only know what is wrong if you study complaints and identify patterns. 

Have Various Customer Service Contact Options 

You can overcome long wait times and unacceptable response rates by offering various customer service contact options. This is something all businesses should offer anyway, but many will avoid more traditional measures in favor of an online chat service. 

If you can provide details for phone, email, contact forms, online chats, and even WhatsApp correspondence, you can serve as many customers as possible. Since you are not focused solely on a single service, you can identify what problems have arisen. It might be that your customers are all contacting you about the same thing, allowing you to cover all bases and take action to solve the problem.

Write a Detailed FAQ 

Businesses can also boost response times by empowering customers to solve the problem themselves. This is especially useful for minor issues that do not always require an agent to walk them through solutions. A detailed and informative FAQ can help customers find the answer themselves and come to a solution without interaction with your customer service team. 

If possible, you may also want to include examples of previous customers who have encountered the same thing. The more details you include, the more a customer can solve the issue. Still, you must write the FAQ with a general overview, because while many issues are similar, there could be a few differences. 

Train Your Employees 

Employee training can also greatly reduce the amount of time your customers need to wait for service. If your employees understand all the ins and outs of your business and its processes, they will have no trouble reaching a solution. For the most part, customer queries are easy fixes. It could be an expired subscription or a poor connection. The more your employees encounter, the faster they will guide customers toward solutions. 

However, you cannot account for all queries. There is always the risk that a customer will bring something new to the table. While this might be an unusual experience, ask your agent to write down what happened to solve it for future reference. 

Hire More Employees 

Hiring more employees will also provide an effective solution and reduce wait times to improve employee satisfaction as they will not feel so overwhelmed with requests and work. Increasing the number of people at the company means you can spread requests across more minds. This means your customers can reach a customer service agent much faster. 

However, you shouldn’t hire people for the sake of hiring. Temp workers are ideal for busier periods, while permanent employees should only be brought in if the demand is there and the budget allows for it. 

Set Up Automated Responses 

While an automated response won’t solve the problems your customer is facing, it can provide a boost that makes them feel like you are listening to them and you have received their query. Writing an excellent auto-reply for emails or contact forms can make a significant difference, even if it is clear that the reply is automated (and you should highlight this, anyway).

A good auto-reply acknowledges the message and provides a general timeframe for when you will respond. While you want to get back to your customer as quickly as possible, anything up to 24 hours from the initial request is (in most cases) an acceptable policy. Of course, you should strive to do everything possible to respond sooner. 

Use A Ticket Priority Approach 

Despite this, sometimes customers require a more urgent response, especially if you operate in a B2B space. Using a ticket priority approach can be an effective solution as it allows you to analyze and then prioritize requests so you deal with the more pressing issues as quickly as possible. This could include offering round-the-clock service and even call-outs for emergencies.

You will need to establish a priority hierarchy, especially since every customer will consider their needs urgent. Once you outline what is an emergency and what isn’t, you can manage customer demands with ease. You may still upset some (often entitled) customers, but sticking to the policy is vital.  

Improve Your Website or Platform

Your website and platform will also prevent long wait times. If you try to include too much on your website, the chances of it being slow will impact how quickly agents can respond to customer needs. This could also encourage them to leave your website altogether. 

By optimizing your website, you can maintain high speeds which means customers can receive an immediate response from your side. They can also rely on the chat to stay there instead of the site crashing which could undo all of their hard work. 


A responsive business becomes a successful business. By ensuring your team responds–or at the very least acknowledges–your customers’ needs and inquiries, you can maintain brand loyalty and keep your reputation bulletproof. These tips offer various ideas for your small business so that you have multiple options for improving your customer service approach and boosting response times and satisfaction across the board.

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