What is the average resolution time (ART)?
Definition: Average resolution time (ART) is a metric that shows the average time it takes customer support to resolve a customer’s issue.
It is calculated by adding up the total time taken to resolve all requests and dividing it by the number of requests.
Measuring ART helps businesses identify improvement areas in their customer support processes and improve customer satisfaction by reducing wait times and resolving issues more quickly.
It's worth noting that while ART is a useful metric, it should not be the only measure of customer support effectiveness — rather, it should be analyzed in combination with customer satisfaction, first contact resolution rate, customer retention, first response, and other customer support metrics.
How to calculate average resolution time
ART can be calculated for individual support representatives or whole teams.
It is calculated with a formula considering the total time needed for customer issues to be resolved over a period (month, quarter, year…) and the number of requests (tickets) made in that period.
Note: Total resolution time is the time that passes from the customer contacting the support team (or sending in the support ticket) about the issue until the issue is resolved, including the time it takes for the support to open up the ticket and all the delays and follow-ups.
ART = Total Resolution Time / Number Of Tickets
For example, a team had 300 support tickets over the past month. They spent 1.380 minutes in total resolving them.
ART = 1.380/300
ART = 4.6 minutes is the team's average time to resolve individual customer issues.
Average resolution time industry benchmarks
The average across all industries combined is 24.2 hours.
Ideal average resolution times by channel
- Phone (3-7 minutes) - They are the quickest channel to resolve issues as the customer can talk to the support and try their recommendations while on the line, and customers prefer shorter calls.
- Email (24 hours) - Customers don’t expect instant resolutions as email isn’t a live support channel and has many delays due to follow-ups. Email is great for complex issues as they can be explained in detail.
- Self-service (Instant) - This isn’t a traditional support channel and its ART can’t be measured like the others. The goal is for customers to solve their problems without the need to contact support, so creating a good FAQ or knowledge base helps other channels with lower ART.
- Live chat (10 minutes) - It can take longer if customers don’t look at the messages for a while, but this is rarely the case as they are engaged in a live conversation. With back-and-forth messaging, issues can be resolved quickly.
- Social Media - Customers can use it in two ways, over comments or chat. If they report an issue over comments, the ART is 24 hours as comments aren’t checked regularly and need time to be written clearly and try to solve the problem in one or two comments. As for social media chat, companies use it like live chat, and customers expect quick answers, so their ART is 10 minutes.
How to reduce average resolution time
- Prioritize tickets - Creating a system of tagging tickets for urgency, complexity, and impact lets support focus on the right tickets at the right time. For instance, quick-to-solve tickets can take a long time to solve due to them not being opened because they are at the end of the ticket stack, needlessly increasing ARG.
- Utilize automation - Using automated responses, chatbots, AI, and email sequences can help the team address multiple tickets simultaneously or take the support team out of the process, letting them focus on more important tasks.
- Implement self-serving support - Creating FAQs, knowledge bases, and user guides lets customers solve issues independently without requesting support thus, the support doesn’t have to spend time resolving it. If the customer asks for support, they can be pointed to these resources closing the ticket in seconds.
- Fix recurring issues - By analyzing common customer requests, the support can get to their product's root problem and work with the development team to fix it, eliminating one type of request they are getting.
- Create a standard workflow - Creating scripts, and internal knowledge bases lets support representatives work efficiently and accurately. Creating escalation procedures helps the team know who to contact for different issues without wasting time on redirecting.
- Directing customers to different channels - Some support channels are more convenient for customers to contact, and they can get overfilled with tickets. Customers may prefer slower support channels increasing ART. Redirecting customers to open and faster channels will let the team solve their problems quicker and free up space for new tickets.