What is a first response time (FRT)?
Definition: First response time (FRT) is a metric that measures the time that passes between a customer submitting a ticket and the support responding to it.
It is a key support metric that shows how quickly customers receive responses, which greatly impacts customer satisfaction.
How to calculate the first response time
It is a time measure represented in minutes, hours, or days depending on the timeframe the support team decides upon.
FRT is calculated by adding all the times it took the support to respond to tickets and dividing it by the number of tickets responded to.
First Response Time = Sum of Individual First Response Times / Total Number of Tickets
Note: This metric is also known as Average FRT.
Note: Automated responses (chatbots, email automation, self-service) don’t count toward the total number of tickets.
For example, a support team had 100 tickets in the past month, and the combined time between the submitted tickets and responses to them was 5600 minutes.
FRT = 5600 / 100
FRT = 5,6 minutes is the average time the support takes to respond to a ticket.
Good first response time
A benchmark for good FRT depends on the industry the company is in and the channels being used for support.
FTR based on the channel:
- Live chat: 1 minute
- Social media 15 minutes
- Email: 60 minutes
- Phone: 3 minutes
FTR based on the industry:
- Finance: 30 minutes
- Real estate: 60 minutes
- Logistics: 60 minutes
- Retail: 30 minutes
- Software: 20 minutes
A business should set benchmarks based on its current FRT and work on lowering it without sacrificing quality. Once it’s consistently beneath the benchmark, a new benchmark should be set.
How to improve first response time?
There are two ways to lower FRT. The first is to reduce the time it takes for support to respond to a ticket, and the second is to lower the number of ticket requests.
To accomplish this, companies use these tactics:
- Utilizing automation like chatbots and emails for common and easy-to-solve tickets contributes to them being responded to immediately and leaving the support room to work on complex tickets. Implementing self-service also helps lower the number of tickets by allowing customers to solve problems without needing support.
- Using ticket routing reroutes new tickets to support representatives that can respond quickly due to their backlog and have the experience to solve the issue quickly.
- Multiple support channels let customers choose how they want the ticket to be approached. It distributes tickets without putting strain on one channel.
- Building a knowledge base lets support find answers quickly, letting them respond to the tickets immediately instead of researching what they will say to the customer. This is further improved by implementing standard procedures for ticket-solving across the team.
It’s essential to track FRT for every new strategy implemented and see if and how it impacts the speed of responses.