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First Response Time

Market research 04 12
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Call center industry works with the motive of providing service to the customers of the Company. So it is important to analyze the Customer Support team and their interaction with the customer base. 

First Response Time is a Call Center metric used to gauge the efficiency of the Customer Support team. By extension FRT also helps improve the service provided and customer experience.


What is the First Response Time (FRT)?

As mentioned, FRT is a metric meant for measuring customer service.

First Response Time is the amount of time it takes for an agent to provide the initial response to a customer inquiry. This is the first step of the entire interaction. 

After the initial response, the agent engages in a conversation with the customer to provide a solution appropriate for the issue. These steps are called the resolution time. 

While both FRT and FCR are important, both have different purposes. FRT makes the difference by providing the initial reply in the shortest span and keeping the customers satisfied. It works the best for Call Center with a long Hold Time leading to customer churn. First Response Time is the essential skill that can prevent the churn rate.

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How to calculate your Average First Response Time?

The formula used by Call Center to measure Average FRT is 

FRT = Total Time taken to send the First Response during a set time period / Number of First Response sent in the set time period

Some tips you can follow to measure your FRT

Use business hours: Using the method of measuring your FRT in business hours can ensure that you are not penalized for the inquiries you receive during weekends or night. Also, tell your customers about your business hours, so they know how you work and what to expect. 

Median: Calculating the media response time allows you to control the outliers that can skew your results. Response time can vary depending on the complexity of the inquiry. For example, an email sent to the wrong team or an inquiry solved within a minute. 

Analyze FRT with your Service Report: By including FRT in your service report you can figure out issues that can cause hindrance to your customer service. If you find that your First Response Time is increasing, then you need to hire more agents or optimize your Workflow Management. 

Add FRT to SLA: By adding FRT with your Service Level Agreement your agents will be responsible to respond to the customers within a reasonable amount of time. For example, responding to issues from top accounts within 10 hours.

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Why is First Response Time an important metric?

75% of customers in the year 2020, claim that fast response time is the most essential attribute of Customer Service. 

The faster you reply to your customer’s query, the more satisfied your customers are. First Response Time plays a significant role in boosting customer satisfaction. Reducing the time it takes to respond to an inquiry can help build a strong connection with the customers.

As per the study by Deloitte & Touche, companies that operate as customer-centric are 60% more profitable. The reason is simple. If you provide fast and efficient service to your customers they feel valued. This results in happy and loyal customers who also act as brand promoters.

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How can you improve your First Response Time?

Train Agents effectively

  • Training your agents is important. They should have knowledge of the company policies. When your agents are familiar with the service and products your company offers they won’t need to spend time looking for answers. They can respond faster to the customers. 
  • Additionally, managers should monitor and analyze the response time of every agent. The managers can also create an SLA. This way they can track if the target is being met by the agents. 

Provide Omnichannel Communication

  • The best way to prevent jamming the call queue is to provide other channels to the customers for interaction. Every query has a different level of complexities; some can be solved via live chat and some with an FAQ page.
  • Live chats and messaging are the channels that allow fast reply time. Agents can handle multiple chats at a single time and provide fast service. 
  • Moreover, with the Omnichannel Platform you can track the entire customer journey. You can monitor when a query was submitted and when it was solved. This can give you an idea of what changes can improve the service. You can enhance the customer service and lower the First Response Time. 

Create an extensive Knowledge Base

  • Having a knowledge base one click away that can provide the agents with any information they need, can make the process of response smooth and response time faster. 
  • Fill the knowledge base with manuals, instructions, guidelines, etc. that can be used by an agent as a guide to help the customer. This way, when agents search for any information the relevant articles can show up for the agent to use. 

Provide Self-service to your Customers

  • 90% of customers prefer to look for solutions on a knowledge base if it is resourceful. Customers don’t always want to talk to Call Center agents. For most customers, it is the last resort. 
  • The feature of Self-service plays a vital role in reducing your First Response Time. Customers can look for the solutions themselves without needing to contact the agents. This way the Call queue can relax and agents can focus on more complex matters.
  • Ensure that your self-service options are easily accessible to your customers. Also, they should be equipped to be optimal, in order to guide a customer through their issue and lead to a solution. Some common tools used by Call Centers to provide Self-service are FAQs, Community Forums, Videos, AI chats, etc. 

Use Canned Responses

  • Figure out the frequently asked queries to come up with Canned Responses. Canned Responses are predefined answers for commonly asked questions by customers. 
  • You can also customize your Canned Response Templates to reduce steps when resolving a query. You can customize it so that your Canned Response can ask for the customer’s order number and query. This way your query is ready to be solved by the agent it is routed to. 

Prioritize Queries based on complexities

  • Every customer query is important, but not all of them are urgent. Categorize the queries you receive based on complexity, time sensitivity, and required follow-ups. 
  • This will give your agents the choice to manage queries based on difficulty level and subject matter. Your agent can find solutions easily if the queries are categorized in clean order. As a result, their productivity will also increase and First Response Time will decrease.
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The median value separates your response time into the higher half and the lower half. For instance, if you have response times such as 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 minutes, your Median Response Time will be the middle value, i.e., 6 minutes.

To improve your First Response Time, you can follow these tips: 

  • Train Agents effectively
  • Provide Omnichannel Communication
  • Create an extensive Knowledge Base
  • Provide Self-service to your Customers
  • Use Canned Responses
  • Prioritize Queries based on complexities

41% of customers prefer Live Chat as a channel to contact the customer support team. Live Chats has a customer satisfaction rate of 92%. Additionally, 79% of customers prefer Live Chat because they get instant responses through the channel.