When it comes to getting fast customer service, the early bird gets the worm.
That's the finding of a new study by ZenDesk, a provider of customer service software. The company looked at the median response time for customer service inquiries based on the time of day that the request was initiated. The data is quite clear: The earlier in the day you initiate the call, the faster your issue will be addressed. Your best bet is to put in your request anywhere between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.; after that, the average response time declines over the course of the day.
As the graph shows, requests put in during the morning see a 5-hour median response time; wait until the end of the afternoon, and you're looking at a response time closer to 17 hours.
"You want to get your inqiries in by lunch, because things get quite a bit worse later in the workday," says Sam Boonin, VP of products for Zendesk.
One possible reason is that the people working in the customer service department simply get tired and slow down in the afternoon; another is that they've got more of a backlog as the day wears on. There's also the fact that inquiries made toward the end of the day may not get answered until the next day.
"Large companies like Amazon are able to staff their customer service 24/7, but most companies are not," points out Boonin.
The fact that median response time is listed in hours, rather than minutes, is attributed to the fact that the survey encompasses all customer service channels, including the relatively sluggish email. You'll get a much faster response by phone, which Boonin says is still the fastest way to go.
Of course, fast doesn't always equal effective. As we've noted in the past, your best bet may be to contact a company through social media, where the public nature of disputes tends to encourage a rapid resolution in the customer's favor.
But if you just want to get a fast response, pick up the phone -- and do it before lunch.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.
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