What is resolution time and how do you work it out?

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

What is resolution time?

Resolution time measures the time taken by your contact teams to resolve an issue or query raised by a customer. It plays a critical role in showcasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your support teams to deliver satisfactory responses promptly.

How do you calculate your resolution time?

To calculate resolution time, subtract the time the customer initiates contact from the time the customer query is fully resolved. Total up the total amount of time taken and divide this by the total number of enquiries received in the time period.

Be sure to filter out any issues not fully resolved from the calculation.

Steps to accurate calculation

  1. Choose a time frame Determine the time period for measuring resolution time, such as daily, weekly, or monthly
  2. Record timestamps Note the time a customer query is received and then when it’s fully resolved
  3. Calculate the difference Subtract the initial query time from the resolution time for every enquiry received in the time frame
  4. Total time taken Add together all the times you’ve collected
  5. Average time calculation Divide the total time taken by the total number of queries you received in the set time period to get your resolution time

Example result

Time frame: 1 day Total number of enquiries in time frame: 400 Total time to respond across all team members: 3,000 minutes

3,000 / 400 = 7.5 minutes average resolution time in day 1

Understanding and tracking resolution time means your teams can monitor their performance, identify bottlenecks, and improve their processes to provide a quicker, more effective service.

Why does the resolution time matter?

Resolution time directly impacts your customer satisfaction score and customer retention rates. Prompt and efficient resolution of queries showcases your team’s commitment to addressing customer needs promptly and effectively, building trust and loyalty among customers.

What is a good resolution time benchmark?

A good benchmark for resolution time is around 5 minutes, depending on the complexity of the issues handled and industry standards. Your teams should aim to consistently improve their resolution time and strive to achieve benchmarks that meet their customers’ expectations and industry norms.

Rethinking resolution time strategies to suit the age of AI

Now that AI automation is commonplace, it’s important to compare your AI resolution time to your human one. Not every enquiry should be automated ― sensitive enquiries, or those needing strategic thought, still need the human touch and will be solved faster by an experienced team with an established customer service mindset or high degree of empathy. It’s important to notice where humans are slower to resolve issues, so you can automate them where appropriate, but also recognise where an AI assistant isn’t the most appropriate channel to resolve an issue fully.

AI is most powerful when it’s used by and alongside your teams to make their jobs easier as well as make the overall experience more enjoyable for the customer.

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, where customer service operations hinge on standard business hours. The problem is, if your support is only active for 8 hours from 9-5, how do you help people for the rest of the 16 hours in a day? Using an AI assistant keeps your support open 24/7 and is a far less expensive ‘pie strategy’.

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

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.”

“Our AI assistant assists customers by making useful information more readily available in ways that haven’t been possible before, and therefore reducing pressure on our service centres.” ~ Claire Hird, Operations Director for Legal & General Insurance

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How does resolution time impact customer trust and loyalty?

Resolution time significantly influences customer trust and loyalty because quick and effective issue resolution shows your team’s dedication to addressing customer needs promptly. See also: Building a customer service mindset.

Why is tracking resolution time essential for service optimisation?

Tracking resolution time helps teams monitor performance, identify bottlenecks, and improve processes to deliver a quicker, more effective service, ultimately enhancing overall customer experience to improve your customer satisfaction score and reduce customer churn.

What strategies can be employed to reduce resolution time effectively?

Effective strategies to reduce resolution time include using AI automation for routine queries, providing comprehensive training to team members, implementing efficient communication channels, improving omnichannel customer experience, and regularly reviewing and optimising resolution workflows.

How does resolution time impact operational efficiency and staff productivity?

Resolution time directly affects operational efficiency and staff productivity. Faster resolution times can lead to increased staff productivity, improved operational efficiency, and ultimately result in enhanced customer satisfaction levels and customer retention rates.