When a customer reaches out to you for any support issue, they expect an accurate and speedy resolution to their problem. And the clock starts ticking the second they start looking for help. This clock stops only when your customers are happy with your offer’s resolution.
In this article, we will discuss what time to resolution is, why it is important, and how to reduce it in your contact center.
What does Time to Resolution (TTR) mean?
Time to resolution is a customer service metric that measures the average time it takes to solve a customer issue from when a ticket is raised to when it is marked as resolved. It is also known as mean time to resolution (MTTR), an average ticket to resolution time, or average resolution time.
Mean time to resolution should not be confused with response time, which only measures the time your support team takes to send the first reply to a customer query, irrespective of whether the issue is resolved.
Since customers always prefer speedy resolution, a long customer resolution can negatively impact your customer satisfaction score (CSAT).
Why does time to resolution matter in customer service?
Time waits for no one, nor do your customers. Research by Hubspot shows that 90% of customers consider an “immediate” response as crucial to a good CX, whereby 60% of them define “immediate” as under 10 minutes.
Average resolution time is a critical customer service metric as it shows your customers that you value their time and will go the extra mile to provide the right solutions in a timely manner.
Besides its integral correlation with customer satisfaction, the average time to resolution also helps you track the following:
- Specific internal processes with longer settlement time
- Your team’s ability and proficiency in solving customer problems
- How efficient your contact center operations are in handling a range of customer queries
- The call distribution among your agents according to volume and specialization
Now that we know why the mean time to resolution is such a critical customer service metric, let us look at how we can calculate TTR.
Formula To Calculate Time To Resolution
To calculate the average time to resolution, let us consider the following example:
In an eight-hour (or 480 minutes) workday, your agent resolves 75 tickets efficiently. To find the average resolution time, divide the total resolution time by the number of tickets resolved for that particular period.
Time to resolution formula:
Average resolution time = Total resolution time/ Number of tickets resolved for that period
In this case, the average resolution time will be 480/75, which is 6.4 minutes.
The lower the average resolution time, the better it is for customer service, proving that you value your customers’ time and effort in contacting you for help. It also boosts customer experience, building customer loyalty and trust in your brand.
What Is A Good Average Time To Resolution?
The average resolution time varies across industries, but the typical standard is 8.5 minutes or less.
The table below shows the typical average TTR of a few industries:
It is essential to note that time to resolve is a subjective metric dependent on several factors large call volume, the complexity of the problem, and the agent-to-ticket ratio.
However, setting some benchmarks can give you insights into your performance to meet and even excel in industry standards.
Customers’ perception of an issue’s urgency and past experiences influence their expected resolution time. Communicating these nuances to your customers is a good idea so they feel supported and heard.
5 Major Challenges That Lead To An Increase In Time To Resolution
With skyrocketing customer expectations, businesses are constantly working to provide quality and speedy service to set their brand apart from competitors. However, various factors are responsible for higher time resolution in contact centers.
1. Unstructured and fragmented SOPs
Standard operating procedures, or SOPs, define business processes and benchmarks that internal teams should follow. However, when SOPs are not organized and stored systematically, disseminating and accessing crucial knowledge to all levels of your organization becomes extremely challenging.
When your agents are confused about standard protocols, they lose time searching for the correct information and will inevitably keep customers waiting. This leads to an increase in the time to a resolution that directly impacts customer satisfaction.
2. Lengthy explanations when troubleshooting complex problems
Depending on the nature and complexity of the customer problem, agents take more time to probe the exact problem. This complicates the troubleshooting process, ultimately affecting the time it takes to resolve the issue.
3. Lack of contextual knowledge leading to repeat conversations
Data reveals that up to 83% of customers must repeat the same information to multiple agents.
In such scenarios, customers repeat the same information from one agent to the next due to the lack of contextual knowledge or the inability to retrieve the right knowledge at the right time.
As each agent has to repeat the whole interaction with the customer, the time it takes to solve the query naturally increases.
4. Disconnected channels
In our now 24/7 digital world, customers expect instant help, irrespective of how they contact your company.
A customer has a problem with a gadget they bought recently. The customer reads in the device manual that 100% refunds are possible for any device purchased under a year. However, the website help center has conflicting information. It states that only replacements are possible for their situation.
Confused by this contradiction, the customer must contact a live rep to resolve the issue.
Although the agent successfully solved the doubts, the customer still had to go through the trouble of clarifying what the actual information was.
The primary issue is inconsistent information across support channels that leads to confusion, miscommunication, increased time to resolution, and customer effort involved in resolving their issues.
5. Toggling between multiple screens
While troubleshooting a customer issue, agents must switch between multiple tabs and apps to gather the information they need to solve a particular query. And the more complex the query, the more steps they must take to consolidate the information they need to resolve.
One way to address the challenge of toggling between multiple screens is by providing your agents with training in time management techniques.
This constant toggling between different tabs and apps, even in microseconds, causes minute distractions that increase resolution time.
Now that we know the major challenges in achieving a good time to resolution, let us look at ways to improve it.
7 Ways To Reduce Time To Resolution
1. Create a single source of truth to reduce long search time
Support reps are bombarded with customer queries in a highly fast-paced environment like a contact center.
Since memorizing scripts and instructions for these innumerable scenarios is impossible, maintaining organizational knowledge in a centralized repository is a sure bet to ensure the accessibility of crucial information.
An intuitive search is critical as it enhances the ease at which agents can locate the relevant information from your knowledge base.
With easy access to information from a single source of truth, agents no longer need to run around or dig through files to get the necessary information. Instead, the right knowledge they need is just a few clicks away to resolve an issue.
2. Organize complex SOPs into guided workflows for real-time support
If SOPs are long and tedious to read, agents will struggle to find the exact information they need in such a short span of time. Under this pressure, your agents can get overwhelmed and have difficulty deciding the next best action.
To avoid such a situation, a simple tool like a decision tree helps you organize long and complex SOPs into simplified workflows with the next best action steps. This way, your agents can access the necessary knowledge in bite-sized chunks to deliver quick real-time support.
Create intutive workflows for agents
Decision trees makes support teams not miss any crucial steps.Know how it works
With open APIs to integrate with your CRM, Knowmax’s decision tree software lets you auto-traverse any step of the decision tree so that your agents can provide contextual resolution to customer queries faster. As a result, your agents become efficient problem solvers who can deliver seamless support always.
3. Employ the power of visuals to explain complex processes
A troubleshooting process can be simple or complex, depending on the nature of the customer query. Employing media like pictures, GIFs, and videos will help your agents visualize the exact problem step-by-step and give a resolution accordingly.
As humans, on average, are visual learners, including visuals in your support strategy will boost customer engagement.
Knowmax allows you to embed visual media across your support content to help agents visualize customer problems so that they can provide speedy and accurate resolutions, decreasing the average handle time on call.
With Knowmax’s visual how-to guides, you can create step-by-step pictorial instructions for any scenario. Agents can also email picture guides to customers, reducing repeat calls and enabling agents to focus effectively on high-priority, critical tickets.
4. Prioritize omnichannel communication for better CX
With digital transformation impacting every aspect of a business, customer service is no exception. Businesses are now adopting omnichannel communication strategies to enhance CX.
However, ensuring that information is consistent across these channels becomes challenging as you continue adding more channels to your service mix. Keeping your channels in sync is essential, so customers across touchpoints receive consistent information.
With omnichannel communication, customers can access consistent knowledge irrespective of the channel they seek support from (email, chatbot, FAQ, phone, etc.). On average, businesses with omnichannel strategies have a retention rate as high as 89%. With customers diversifying how they communicate, adapting to their needs will boost their customer experience with your brand.
5. Use data to identify bottlenecks across your agents’ and customers’ journey
Data tells stories about your agents’ and customers’ journey through numbers- stories you need to build better CX strategies. Tracking this data will help you understand the loopholes in your existing knowledge of customer support.
With Knowmax’s micro-segmented analytics, you can track your agent’s engagement with your existing knowledge to gauge actionable insights.
For example, if your agents’ most frequented content is about refund policies, this reveals that your customers often reach out to your support team for help due to a roadblock while trying to get refunds.
These detailed reports reveal how well your existing content pieces perform, how often they have been frequented, and how efficient they are in helping your agents resolve customer problems.
This way, you can create knowledge that helps agents engage better with customers and solve their queries faster. Leveraging this data will help you shape your CX strategy that keeps customers happy.
6. Optimize self-service support on your website
Did you know that over 80% of customers prefer to self-serve before they contact a live agent?
However, the same study shows that 40% still have to contact their service reps after trying self-service options.
This indicates that although new-age customers would rather help themselves, most companies are yet to fully optimize their self-service portals to make them customer-friendly.
The surest way to promote self-service is to stock up your knowledge base with up-to-date quality content that delivers what your customers want. This can include FAQs, help articles, and how-to guides that help customers solve their problems quickly and efficiently.
Highlighting your most frequented articles and FAQs will help customers access the support they need faster, speeding up the rate at which their queries are answered. When customers make their preferences clear, heeding their demands will put your business ahead of the curve.
7. Provide quality call center agent training
Agents are the front liners in your customer service strategy. They solve a myriad of customer problems under tight and high-pressure deadlines.
It is crucial that you provide top-quality call center agent training so that your agents can deliver even better support. Tracking agent performance will give you detailed insights into how long it takes for an agent to solve any particular query. This way, you can reward high-performing agents and provide extra help for those yet to hit the mark.
You can also create quizzes on a platform like Knowmax to check your agents’ knowledge about processes, SOPs, and workflows to ensure that all your agents are up-to-speed with critical knowledge.
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Time to resolution is a crucial customer service metric that gives insights into how well your team can solve customer problems. Being mindful of this metric will help you deal with your customers’ queries effectively and meet their expectations.
The lesser time to resolve, the better it is for you and your customers. A low time to resolution proves how much you value your customers’ time and effort to contact your team. It also reveals how well your support strategy is working and to take actionable steps where necessary to keep your customers satisfied.