Response times: what are your expectations?

Making customer service the best it can be is a part of what I do every day.

I’m curious: when you write to customer support, how quickly do you expect a response?

Who have you had outstanding experiences with when you’ve had to write to customer support for a piece of software or web application that you use?

2 thoughts on “Response times: what are your expectations?

  1. The response time that I expect from a company seems to scale with the method that I use to contact them. If I email a larger business (amazon, LLBean), I am happy if I receive an answer in twenty-four hours. These issues are usually lower priority, and so I’m not hitting “new mail” for the answer. A longer response is ok if I’m warned up front, e.g. with an auto-respond email from the company.

    If a company encourages me to contact them via twitter, I expect to hear back in a much shorter amount of time – within an hour or two. Recently I tweeted a question to my hosting company about the server being offline, and they never got back to me. Incredibly bad customer service, and in a public forum.

    On the flip side, I also work at a software helpdesk. When a new ticket is assigned to me, I make a point to acknowledge it within the hour, even if it is just to say that I’m working on the issue. My experience has been that users are more patient if you are upfront about what is going on: contacting the software team, the responsible person is out of the office until tomorrow, etc.

    hope it helps!
    — liz

    1. Thanks Lizzy!

      I agree: acknowledging a ticket that may not be solved immediately really makes a difference. Customers appreciate the fact that you’re aware of their issue and have a plan to resolve it.

      I’m kind of down on auto-responders myself–they actually leave me feeling a bit cold. The ones I’ve experienced (see my post on Boxbe customer support) were thrown in as hurdles, in that you had to actually read through it and email a *second* address if you really wanted your request to be reviewed. If you ignored it, as one might for an auto-response, you’d never hear back. I feel personally, that the first reply to the customer should be instructions on how to solve the issue.

      Twitter is an interesting medium. I find it tricky to provide great support in < 140 characters, yet customers do demand instant, comprehensive responses. I'm curious about how best to manage expectations within that medium.

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