Timing in Customer Service: Lose or Win a Customer

Delivering great customer service means delivering it on time. Whether it is phone support, live chat or email contacts, if you fail to provide timely help, you most probably lose a customer.

alarm clock

Timely help does not necessarily mean immediate help. Though the shorter the waiting time is, the better. Of course your customers expect immediate help in all cases, but in most cases they are ready to wait for some reasonable time. Your customers will be more loyal to waiting if you keep a few rules.


Phone support

1. Pick up after the third ring. Don’t make a customer think that you do not want to pick up the phone.

2. If the line is busy most of the day, think of adding the second line, because you are probably missing lots of calls and losing customers.

3. When you redirect the call to another person, make sure that your colleague is available at the moment. Do not make the customer wait till the call would be redirected back to you automatically.

4. If you need time to check information, ask the customer if he does not mind waiting on hold. If collecting information takes you more than a minute, check with the customer if he is ready to wait longer, or offer to call back later.

5. When you promise to call back later, specify when exactly you are going to call, and make sure you call on time.


Help desk support and emails

1. It is a good manner to answer emails within one business day. But if you really want to WOW a customer, answer within 30 minutes.

2. Set up automated replies which will notify your customers that the message is delivered and inform about your regular response time. Even if your regular response time is 3 business days, the informed customers will wait patiently. But if you fail to notify your customers about the response time, be ready to address their impatient messages followed by chat inquiries and phone calls.

3. Help desk software allows tracking response time and urgent messages. Always use these two features when you work with emails. Answer all urgent messages first, and then switch to regular messages. First come – first served is the main principle here. This will help you avoid overdue tickets.

4. Use automated routing feature to avoid overdue tickets. If the ticket is not answered one hour before the due time, the ticket status should be changed to Urgent, so it becomes the first priority.


Live chat service

1. Live chat responses should not take long. Try to make your responses shorter, so that typing would not take you long. Otherwise the visitors start asking if you are there. If you need to type a long message, try to split it and send in parts.

2. If you need time to check information, ask the visitor if he minds waiting for a few minutes. If it takes you too long, get back to the visitor and ask for more time.

3. When you are not able to help immediately, ask for the visitor’s contact information and offer to call back, or send an email later. Make sure that you get back to the person on the agreed time.

4. When all the chat operators are offline, switch the chat widget to the “Leave a message” mode.

5. If you do not use the “Leave a message” mode, and prefer switching to the “Offline” status, make sure this status is not dominating over the “Online” status. Otherwise it would be better to hide the chat button when all operators are offline. Some website visitors may see your “Offline” status too often and this will negatively affect their opinion about your service.


These simple rules will help you provide timely assistance to your customers and improve their customer experience. Create good impression delivering help on time, and exceed customers’ expectations providing help faster than promised.