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Glossary

What is First Reply Time?

First response time is abbreviated by FRT. FRT or first reply time refers to the period of time between when a client reports an issue and when customer support reacts, which might be minutes, hours, or even days. 


It is occasionally measured during regular business hours and sporadically outside of those times. Calculate the average first response time by adding up all first responses and dividing by the number of tickets that were successfully resolved to see trends over time.


It is significant to highlight that average reply time, which assesses how quickly customer service organizations respond to all interactions, not just first-touch messages, is distinct from first response time.

Why Does First Response Time Essential for Customer Service?

First response time is essential for customer service because attending to customers’ queries instantly is not just expected but absolutely mandatory these days. The first response is important in building trust and a good relationship with the customer.


While many organizations provide various average first response time numbers. Therefore, the following are a few that are often cited:


According to a survey of SuperOffice, an average company takes around 12 hours and 10 minutes to respond to an email.


According to SuperOffice, 62% of the organizations do not respond to customer service emails at all.


As per the survey of MyCustomer, to provide world-class service, businesses should strive for an average email response time of one hour.


According to the survey of Groove, for the social media conversations, the response time should be within an hour and it is recommended.


As per the Groove survey, companies should take 3 minutes or less for phone support.


Of course, all of these measures lose their significance when you take into account chat and messaging channels. For all forms of communication, the first response time must be instantaneous. 


Meanwhile, this does not imply that a person must constantly be on duty to respond to client questions made through any channel. That would be a time-consuming and expensive task, therefore artificial intelligence (AI) and bots can help.

How to Calculate Average First Response Time (FRT)?

Sum of the First Response Time / Number of Tickets = Average First Response Time (FRT)


By summing up all first response times and dividing the total number of tickets that have been handled, you can get your average first response time. Minutes, hours, and days are frequently used to indicate FRTs.


Calculate your FRT using the median rather than the average to reduce the likelihood of outliers skewing the data.


Additionally, you should take into consideration tickets that were sent beyond your defined business hours and automatic responses (such as those offered by chatbots or virtual assistants).


To identify areas for improvement, you may filter your First Response Time by agent, team, or time zone.

How Can Customer Service Be Improved Using First Response Rate Data?


Only if you use metrics like the first response rate to raise the performance of your team will they be useful. After all, simply being aware of how long it takes your agents to respond to tickets won't help them grow better—but using that knowledge to set precise, quantifiable goals would.


Once you have established a target response rate that you can live with, use that number to encourage each agent to go above and above for your customers every day.


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