First Response Time (FRT)

Date created: Aug 27, 2019  •   Last updated: Dec 2, 2020

What is First Response Time?

First Response Time (FRT) is the average amount of time taken for an agent to provide an initial response to a customer inquiry or support ticket. The speed at which you acknowledge a customer's question is a reflection of your commitment to customer satisfaction and the maturity and efficiency of your call centre.

Alternate names: First Reply Time

Formula

ƒ Sum(time taken to send a first response) / Count(customer issues that got a first response)

How to calculate

At your call centre, customers raised 50 support tickets in one month. Your support team responded to every ticket, and spent a total of 3000 minutes sending first responses to these tickets. The First Response Time for that month is 3000 minutes / 50 tickets = 60 minutes.

First Response Time

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What is a good First Response Time benchmark?

For a ticketing system, most users expect a response in less than 24hrs. For live chat, less than 1.5mins, and for phone, 3 minutes is considered good (though rare).

More about this metric

Monitoring and analyzing First Response Time (FRT) helps you understand how to handle increases and decreases in ticket volume. The goal is to set expectations for your customers and your agents by maintaining a consistent FRT.

To do this, you need to understand how efficient your agents are, how holidays or busy periods impact ticket volume, and how to scale quickly when there’s an unexpected spike in ticket volume (for example, during a technical outage).

The positive customer relationship that results from a low FRT can be a major differentiator and often results in follow-on purchases and expansion revenue. Mapping your FRT to Net Promoter Score (NPS), or a similar survey, can help you understand how your customers react to wait times.

A slow FRT often inflates the initial incident and, even worse, can cause a frustrated customer to submit multiple tickets. In addition, customers who experience a slow FRT are more likely to tell their friends about it than if they had a quick FRT.

Even if you don’t yet have an answer, you should respond to the customer. A customer who has been acknowledged is a happier customer.