July 20, 2015

What’s An Appropriate Customer Service Response Time?

questionsI don’t know about you, but I’ve been running into this a bit lately and wonder if  anyone has any thoughts or ideas to share.  As entrepreneurs, we know that our customers are #1 and we want to get back to each and every one of them as quickly as possible.  But as small businesses, we only have so much time in and amongst everything else we’re working on.  So what is an appropriate customer service response time?

I’m not just talking about phone calls or emails.  What about questions posted (either privately or on your public board) via social media channels you may be on?  I, personally, am finding that people seem to expect immediate responses even if they posted at 1am your time.

So how do you, as a small business owner, manage this?  Have you hired folks to help with customer service?  Have you hired a social media person to monitor your social media channels and respond to questions?  Or are you doing it all yourself?  And in each of those cases, do you put parameters on when you answer customers (i.e., only between the hours of X and Y) or do you try to respond to everyone regardless of what day it is or time it is?

Again, I say all this with the knowledge that customers are our top concern (and gratitude for those customers who take a risk on us small businesses) but by the same token, how do you manage their expectations when they’re used to getting round-the-clock service from the Big Brands?

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3 comments on “What’s An Appropriate Customer Service Response Time?

  • Debra B on said:

    My company is so small at this point that I try to respond in real time. I know when I get bigger that may not be the case. I think 24 hours is the longest response time as a consumer and as a business owner.

    • Jennifer on said:

      Thanks so much for sharing. I agree that I think 24 hours is probably the longest you can wait and, like you, I try to get to everyone ASAP. Lately I’ve been noticing folks get antsy if a response isn’t given in 5-10 minutes (especially on social media) and that’s hard to balance with the rest of the running of your business (and your life!).

      • Debra B on said:

        Totally agree with you that 5-10 minutes is too short of a turn-around time. Unfortunately my business page on FB doesn’t even notify me of comments and messages when they come in. Love your posts and help!