What is average response time and how is it affected by AI?

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week

What is average response time?

Average response time measures how long your teams take to respond to customer queries. This metric is essential in evaluating the effectiveness of your customer interactions and a quick response time is vital for maintaining customer satisfaction and trust. For example, responding promptly to an online shopping query can increase sales and build customer loyalty.

How do you calculate your average response time?

To calculate average response time, add up the response times for all interactions and divide this total by the number of interactions. This simple calculation gives insight into how quickly your team engages with customers. If your teams respond to 10 queries in 100 minutes, the average response time would be 10 minutes per query.

Regularly tracking this metric helps you assess the performance of your teams, identify bottlenecks and strive for continuous improvement.

Why does the average response time matter?

Average response time directly influences your customer satisfaction score, brand reputation, and overall customer experience. Rapid response times show you provide exceptional service and stand out in a competitive market.

What is a good average response time benchmark?

A good benchmark for average response time in customer service interactions typically falls within a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the industry and platform.

Rethinking average response time strategies to suit the age of AI

Microsoft found “some UK customers are waiting up to 85 minutes to speak to representatives at some of the country’s largest providers of consumer goods and services”. Using an AI assistant to answer queries changes the rules entirely for average response time because all responses are instant.

Instead of measuring how long it takes to reach a company in minutes, you’ll measure the seconds it takes for an AI assistant to respond. For that reason, it’s helpful to log the difference. Look at your average response time without an AI assistant and directly compare this to the average response time after you launch an AI assistant.

Accuracy of the response is also improved using AI, since there’s no room for human error and there are no pockets of out of date information able to hide in the system. Our AI assistants average a 96% success rate, which means they’ve understood what your customer has asked for and responded correctly without any help from your support teams ― instantly, so AI-powered responses are not just fast, they’re definitive.

Dishing up the customer service pie differently

Like many organisations, your telephone communications might currently command the largest piece of what we call the customer service pie and response times hinge on standard business hours of 9-5. The problem is, if your support is only active for 8 hours a day, you’re not responding to people for the other 16 hours. Using an AI assistant keeps your support open 24/7 (and is a far less expensive ‘pie strategy’ when you consider the typical UK cost per call is £6).

Rethinking the customer service pie: 80% AI chatbot, 15% live chat, 5% phone

“The ability to deliver such high levels of accuracy without needing further interaction from the contact centre has helped us reduce our wait times considerably and know that queries that come through will be things that need direct answers from the contact centre team. Without our AI assistant our call volumes would have continued at an exceptionally high level and we are confident the system has saved us the equivalent of 2 additional heads due to us being open 7 days a week.” ~ John Branigan, Director of IT & Transformation at Mytime Active

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Move the slider above to match your total customer service load per month (including calls, emails and live chats).
To calculate accurate savings for your business, put your real figures in the boxes below to replace these benchmarks.

your current average cost per enquiry (calls, emails, and live chats)
of enquiries you wish to be handled by your AI assistant (without the need for a call, email or live chat)
your average hourly rate for customer service rep / agent (including costs such as training, equipment, recruitment)

Using an AI assistant is not only about saving money, it’s about saving you valuable time too. “Having an AI assistant can help reduce the number of enquiries you have overall,” says Aaron Gleeson, Implementation Lead at EBI.AI, “resulting in your support agents having more time to provide a better quality and experience to your customers.”

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Why is measuring average response time key for customer service teams?

Measuring average response time helps gauge how quickly your teams address customer queries, which directly impacts your customer satisfaction score and loyalty.

How can I improve my average response time?

Enhance your response time by optimising workflows, training staff efficiently, integrating AI chatbots for immediate support, and setting clear goals for response times.

Can a slow average response time affect customer retention?

Yes, a slow response time can lead to customer frustration, dissatisfaction, and potentially drive them to seek services elsewhere, impacting customer retention rates.

What role do AI chatbots play in improving average response times?

AI chatbots can offer immediate responses, handle a high volume of inquiries efficiently, and provide round-the-clock support, contributing to faster average response times and enhanced customer experiences.