Published on September 7th, 2022 | by Bibhuranjan


First Response Time (FRT): Meaning and Optimization

Whether you’re running an established business or have just ventured into the global market, timeliness and punctuality remain critical in ensuring customer satisfaction.

Fortunately, there are ways to monitor your company’s wait times. Let’s dive into the basics.

Definition: First Response Time

First response time or FRT allows customer service and call centers to monitor wait times by measuring the average response time it takes for customers to receive a response after a customer has raised a ticket.

Most businesses include a baseline response time; for example, most planners target a 20-second FRT goal. By monitoring how close this target is hit, FRT helps gauge the success of staffing plans. If for any reason customer service centers fall short of this pre-decided target, you guessed right; customer satisfaction hits rock bottom.

It’s important to note that different channels will have different first response times depending on the traffic and demand. For example, a live chat or call should generally be answered within 20 seconds, whereas a 2-working day window is generally acceptable if you’re contacting through email.

How to Calculate Response Time

Unlike most things in life, a first response time has a relatively simple formula. All you need to do is sum up the number of FRTs in a specific period (for example, a week, month, or year) and divide it by the sum of resolved tickets.

Response Time Calculation: Things to Keep in Mind

  • Consider calculating your first response time based on the median range instead of the average.
  • For a better approximation, exclude automated responses and inquiries made after business hours
  • Filter response times by time zones or teams to identify areas of improvement
  • If you’re not good with numbers, you can always turn to a first response calculator to do all the math for you.

What is Considered a Good FRT?

With the business industry constantly evolving, it’s impossible to state a ‘gold standard’ for the ideal FRT. However, you can compare yours to other competitors and find where you stand.

With significant brands setting the bar exceedingly high, anywhere between 30-minutes or less for emails and 15-seconds or less for live chatbots is considered a good FRT.

How to Optimize Your FRT?

Now that you’re familiar with your FRT, you’re better equipped to set yourself milestones and targets and continue exceeding them. After all, your biggest competitor is who you were yesterday.

Here are a couple of tried and tested ways you can give your FRT that extra push:

  • Coach, Train, and Encourage

Training your staff correctly and ensuring they know your product or service is key to lowering your FRT. Consider breaking down your average FRT and pry out the person lagging. Find out what’s slowing them down and address it.

  • Additional Channels

If you’re relying on a single channel to get the job done, that’s what’s slowing your company down. Spoil your customers for choice by upgrading your communication channels.

  • Avoid Burnout

Build a productive working environment by appreciating all that your staff does for you. A little kindness can go a long way!

Cover Image by Freepik

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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